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Garfield on target

Kudos to Bob Garfield for his Ad Review "As far as targeting, shaver ad is a bust" (AA, Dec. 1). Although this type of advertising may insult the intelligence of men, it manages to cross the line with women as well, creating a lack of credibility and common sense. Which brings me, once again, to ponder why advertising that is offensive to women continues to be produced.

Can any advertiser really afford to alienate the female consumer? This is not an isolated incident. Clients and the agencies that represent them need to seriously consider the ramifications. The current Izod print campaign features a naked woman, apparently the loser in a strip poker game (the men are not naked). Because of this ad, three generations of women in my family will not be purchasing the Izod brand for the men in our lives this year.

Likewise, the bikini-clad, well-endowed woman running down the beach in the current Del Taco TV spot has ensured that the carpool mothers I know will use their influence to boycott that destination.

Perhaps this type of advertising results from the lack of female representation in the creative process, as highlighted in recent issues of Ad Age and Creativity magazine.

However, it is apparent by Mr. Garfield's confession "the Ad Review staff likes breasts" that the Ad Age Ad Review staff is lacking in female representation as well.

Caryn Wiley

President, Wiley & Associates

Westlake Village, Calif.

`Cooking Light' omitted

In the article "Epicurean titles grow fat on '97 ad, reader gains" (AA, Dec. 22), the omission of Cooking Light was more than just surprising given that Cooking Light is the most important development in the food/epicurean category in the last 10 years.

Less important may be the fact that Cooking Light's 1.35 million rate base tops, by nearly 30%, the next largest magazine in our category, Bon Appetit. Cooking Light's 29% PIB page gain in 1997 also tops those of the traditional upscale and indulgent epicurean titles -- Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food & Wine plus relative newcomer Saveur -- that were cited. Simply put, Cooking Light is the largest epicurean title in the country, and has become so in less than 10 years. To not acknowledge this is wrong.

Respectfully, however, perhaps your intent was to analyze the "traditional" epicureans only. If so, consider the following: Cooking Light's approach to food is different than the indulgent approach our category has historically taken. Healthy lifestyle, exercise and fitness editorial is no less qualified a complement to food than is travel or home entertaining. In fact, most would say that a healthy lifestyle is the most direct link to food and nutrition of all.

To omit Cooking Light because we don't fit the traditional mold is to deny the reader an accurate and factual profile of what the epicurean category is today. Your article tells a very partial story with the omission of Cooking Light.

While I appreciate the article's portrayal of the indulgent epicureans fighting amongst themselves, it is Cooking Light that is responsible for the contempori- zation of the traditional epicurean category. I hope future articles regarding our category will include Cooking Light, the epicurean category's 1997 rate base and ad page gain leader.

Christopher C. Allen

VP-publisher, Cooking Light

New York

Post's ploy a flop

Your article on breakfast cereals ("Post's price play rocked category, but did it work?" AA, Dec. 1) is too kind to the management of Kraft Foods' Post cereals.

The company's decision to cut cereal prices in 1996 was a colossal blunder based on two major fallacies: 1) that cereal demand is price-elastic, and lower shelf prices would lead to increased consumption; and 2) that Kellog would not respond, despite its already weak market share. The figures on category growth and market share since then speak for themselves. The only lasting impact was the destruction of industry profit margins.

In a marketing-driven industry where growth is sluggish and private label and other low-price alternatives are making steady inroads, reduced advertising by the major brands [to help offset the price cuts] is a recipe for disaster.

Robert J. Cummins

Food industry analyst

Schroder & Co.

New York

Motto for our times

In this age of dumbing down and celebrity worship, Rance Crain crafted a sentence in his Dec. 8 column ("What can we be sure of today? Certainly not Westinghouse") that future generations may chisel in stone as the motto of our times: "Our society reveres the trivial and inane."

Louis B. Raffel

President, American Egg Board

Park Ridge, Ill.

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