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A changed business

I read with great interest Rance Crain's column on the Unique Selling Proposition and the comments made by Bill Tragos, chairman-CEO of TBWA (Viewpoint, July 7). I think both Messers. Crain and Tragos have a point; however, both fail to realize that advertising has changed.

The biggest change is the surge of advertising that allows the consumer to carry the badge of what the product stands for in the eyes of his peers. This is an extremely targeted and segmented group of consumers . . . Thus, we find advertising that matches an image with a consumer attitude.

Also, the creative person has changed . . . He sees his creativity as a personal issue; the client is the vehicle for winning awards. Advertising that entertains, wins awards.

We must manage these changes correctly, and clearly differentiate image-driven advertising from positioning-driven advertising . . .

What has not changed is who pays for the advertising, and that we work for companies that must deliver profits. . . . Not all products can be sold by advertising that entertains.

Advertising must differentiate itself, because there is no value in sameness. I see a lot of sameness in advertising that tries to entertain. It's time to start selling more and entertaining less.

Jorge Bertran

Lisbon, Portugal

Shame on no-shows

Recently Reader's Digest celebrated its 75th anniversary with a cocktail reception for advertising executives, prompting me to write this apology [to the publication] for the invitations extended to advertising "folk" who accept and then don't show up!

How would the "guests" like to be hit with the $60, $100 or more per-head tab media guarantee when they book the venue?

How do "professionals" accept a costly invitation, then no-show without a courtesy phone call?

I apologize for those who seem to take media invitations for granted . . . I always look over the un-picked-up name tags in hopes that none of them are with us!

Joe R. Eisaman

Chairman Emeritus, Lois/EJL

Los Angeles

Warmth not enough

In response to Rance Crain's July 21 "Buzz words to watch out for when hearing an agency pitch," it's hard for me to believe any agency presenter could begin his pitch with openings as smarmy as those cited by Mr. Crain.

On the other hand, noting some of the ads and commercials that pass for advertising these days, I've got to applaud the warning Mr. Crain is offering to clients.

Coming from a retail background, I know that advertising can't always "move the needle," but it always should try to.

Creating advertising that is hip but doesn't communicate a reason to buy is like wetting your pants while wearing a blue serge suit: it gives you a nice warm feeling without anybody noticing.

John Rosene

Exec VP-Creative Director

Chase/Ehrenberg & Rosene


Revisionist Audi

Audi's new newspaper ad begins with the unequivocal statement, "In the 1930s, shoes were sensible. Skirts were long. And cars were all rear-wheel drive. Except ours." It would be impressive if it were true.

Errett Lobban Cord's namesake L-29 sedan was front-wheel drive. Over 5,000 were built between 1929 and 1932. The new Cord Models 810 and 812 introduced in 1935 were also front-wheel drive and sold thousands more. . . . Striking to most. Invisible to Audi.

Even more egregious than the convenient omission is the implication that Audi was somehow an intrinsic part of the American culture of the 1930's. Just how many Audis were sold in the U.S. during that decade? Of course, there's another possible explanation for all of this

. . . Audi isn't talking about the U.S. at all, but pre-war Germany. . .

Thomas N. Edmonds

President, Edmonds Associates


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