Rance Crain's assessment of the Cadillac Catera advertising campaign ("Opposite image problems hold back Cadillac, Nissan sales," AA, March 3) was enlightened but missed one point. The reason Cadillac has sold so few Cateras is not entirely the fault of the advertising campaign. To paraphrase a basic tenet of our field, "even great advertising cannot fix poor merchandising."
My point is not that the Catera ads are great. To the contrary, at best they are neutral. My beef is with the merchandising . . .
With the exception of the misfire of trying to position the Cadillac as Freddie Couples' golf cart, the previous ad campaigns have been on target in presenting the Cadillac as a full-size luxury car.
My suggestion to General Motors is to leave Caddie alone. Fight the cheap Lexus (Camry clone) and other "entry level" luxury cars with the Chevy and Olds marques.
Now, as to the Arch Deluxe . . .
Cry Baby Studios
Time to stand up
Congratulations to Martin Puris [chairman-CEO and chief creative officer, Ammirati Puris Lintas] and Ed Meyer [chairman and president, Grey Advertising] for refusing to compete for MasterCard and Domino's business they believe should never have been up for grabs in the first place ("MasterCard in play; Ammirati won't pitch," AA, March 3, and "Domino's to serve up $75 mil aac't," AA, Jan. 13).
Plus my applause to Phil Dusenberry, sensing Delta was already committed elsewhere, for walking away from a final presentation that would only have cost more time and money ("Delta, BBDO jousting over fairness of $100 mil review," AA, March 10).
Granted their statements can be construed as self-serving, but someone needs to stand up and reflect on the absurdity of the agency search frenzy now gripping our business.
Too often, as soon as a new marketing director is hired that individual publicly announces an upcoming agency review . . . Doesn't that person recognize it's more logical to resolve differences within the group than precipitate a whole new lineup that will more likely take about a year to function properly?
For clients who live by quarterly results, a major agency change can often be more disruptive than helpful . . .
Maneloveg Marketing & Media Consultants
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
I was surprised to read the article on "diversity" vis-a-vis [Leo] Burnett's leadership in recruiting minorities in the mid-1960s (AA, Feb. 17) with no mention whatsoever of what the Chicago Council of the American Association of Advertising Agencies was doing in the mid-1960s.
As I recall, a couple of years before I became chairman of the council in 1967 or 1968, it had started a program to help black men and women enter the agency field above the clerical level . . .
As chairman, I worked closely with Bill Sharp, a brilliant black creative executive from Leo Burnett, who ran the program at night in conjunction with Four A's members and also, I believe, Northwestern University.
The students were from all walks of life, i.e., teachers, bus drivers, social workers, etc. In addition to the schooling supervised by Bill Sharp, participating member Four A's agencies gave on-the-job training and in some cases, after completion, full-time jobs to successful students.
M. Carl Johnson, Jr.
The U.S. Japan Business Institute
Lake Bluff, Ill.
Ads we can do without
While we haven't seen "Ads we can do without" for some time, here's one that should zip it up!
In " Lowe Direct working to bolster operations" (March 3, P. 4), Lowe Direct CEO Lynn Fantom reports to Lee Garfinkel, co-chairman and chief creative officer at Lowe & Partners/SMS, as well as to Marvin Sloves, co-chairman of the agency.