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In the ongoing debate over Edwin L. Artzt's new-media wake-up call to the advertising industry, Advertising Age asked readers to go into cyberspace to respond.

Most Advertising Age Online Edition on Prodigy:

Preston Bealle: Artzt's call to action may result in the formation of some committees and some serious exploration of the "interactive" world because of the dollar clout he commands. But ad agencies, aside from a few in Silicon Valley, have been woefully late as adopters of technology .*.*.

Given this history, it's not realistic to expect that agencies are going to lead themselves, or anyone else, into any kind of cyberspace future. They may not be wrong in biding their time. A lot of money will be wasted on ideas that do not pan out.

Steve Chipman: Interactive media opens up a whole new spectrum of choices that don't have the proven track record that "normal" media does. Yes, ad agencies, especially Madison Avenue, have been slow in embracing the so-called new media. However, can we really blame them? Interactive media is going in so many different and diverse directions (it seems every week there's an announcement for a new type of service) that who knows what form will eventually win?

Call them squeamish and timid if you want, but you can't criticize them entirely for not acting enough.

Blaine Zuver: For Artzt's products (package goods), interactive advertising will become necessary. This will be the return of the door-to-door salesman giving a demonstration, except the salesperson will arrive through spun glass fiber.

Terry Lundt: Media, including new media, normally compete ferociously for advertisers' dollars. Look at cable's monumental 14-year effort (which has garnered barely 10% of the TV ad $). The info highway guys deliver nothing but talk, yet suggest, often arrogantly, that advertisers and their agencies should pony up and do their job for them.

Did any advertisers lose advantage by not being among the first to use TV? Did Anheuser-Busch gain any enduring competitive edge by being the first national [marketer] to advertise on cable? Until interactivity addresses advertising from the perspective of truly competing in the media arena rather than presumption of dominating it, the greatest activity of advertisers and their agencies is indeed likely to remain white papers.

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