Letters, April 20, 2009

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Small businesses hop on bandwagon

I wanted to forward this along to you after reading "Agencies Need to Think More Facebook, Twitter, Less TV" (AdAge.com, April 7). I independently rep a small local jewelry store in Greenville, N.C., and I just released the first edition of an e-mail newsletter to our customers. I also just created a Facebook page for the company. This is all coming from a privately owned store that purchased its first computer for point of sale a mere four years ago, so we consider this as advancing by leaps and bounds within just the past few months. So far we have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers. I wanted to share this with you as evidence that the article written was completely accurate.
Whitney K. Grau
Marketing Representative
Floyd G. Robinson Jewelers
Greenville, N.C.

Free copywriting advice for Honda

The latest Chevy pick-up commercials with former football player Howie Long are misguided and inaccurate. Recently they had one poking fun at a Ford truck owner's manhood, because Ford invented a convenient tailgate step that the GM engineers somehow missed.

Now, the latest spot ends with Mr. Long poking fun at Honda with a shot of one of their lawnmowers. Funny how Honda manufactures superior cars and trucks, motorcycles and scooters, and lawn implements, while Chevy can barely manage to produce average vehicles.

Were I a copywriter for Honda, I would have a very simple :30 spot. Man is mowing his lawn. From above, we see "Chevrolet" marked in the grass. By spot's end, the lawn has been completely-mowed, causing the "Chevrolet" to disappear. Tag-line: "Honda. You KNOW we'll be here!" Fade to black.

Tim Marsh
Barstow, Calif.

A little Haterade for social media

RE: "Amazon's Silent Mistake in the Face of Social-Media Firestorm" (Adage.com, April 13). Boring, boring, boring. Twitter is the Boston cream pie of the nonorgasmic do-nothing set. Americans don't vote, don't save, don't pray and don't volunteer, but they find time for this inane crap. Little wonder our society is collapsing.
Joe Dibello
Portland, Ore.

This is of course the result of extending personal freedoms to morons: When oh when will it finally seep through to the collective web consciousness that social media is riddled with fiction and outright deceit?

The end result of all of this will be higher prices to the consumer as retailers/e-tailers are forced to add layers of monitoring and bureaucracy. It will also create a paranoia detrimental to all brands.

Steve Klein

Real people don't have their faces stuck in front of monitors 24/7 the way the media -- including marketing and advertising types -- would like to believe.

Craig Cooper,
New York

And a little love ...

No, Jeff Bezos doesn't need to bow to the Twitter gods, but brands do ignore Twitter contretemps at their own peril.

Before Twitter, look at the legs that that Tommy Hilfiger-racism rumor had. None other than Oprah had to open her show one day denouncing the rumor. Check Snopes.com for all the background.

Do you think that Twitter discussions don't filter into the real world? And should brands ignore the stirrings of Twitter and write it off as geeks talking to geeks? Despite lots of people writing off Twitter's demo as early adopters, the Twitter demos are moving well beyond that.

Regardless of what exactly caused Amazon's delisting, Amazon did have a brewing and growing PR crisis on its hands -- with numerous people who spend lots of money on Amazon merchandise threatening to boycott and stop buying. Amazon is a public company, and it needed a much better PR response -- yes, using Twitter and other PR avenues.

If it was working on the problem, it could have responsibly responded via Amazon's Twitter account, "We're aware of a listing issue impacting thousands of books. It wasn't intentional. We're working on a fix." That could have easily quelled the growing Twitter chorus of complaints.

As of right now, Amazon.com doesn't even have a statement listed on its online press room. Despite branding Bezos and the company as early technology adopters, Amazon.com still favors a traditional one-way PR broadcast method. It still won't answer a simple question about how many Kindles have sold.

Did Twitter users overreact? Yes, maybe. Did Amazon drop the ball on crisis PR? They sure did.

Jeff Rutherford
Conway, Mass.

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