Letters, April 21, 2008

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Misunderstanding the value menu

"Value Menus Cost Operators Dearly" by Emily Bryson York is an interesting read, but it misrepresents the McDonald's value strategy.

As a McDonald's franchisee for more than 21 years, I take exception to the assertions that increasing prices and low product values are forcing franchisees into insolvency -- especially comments by Dick Adams, who is neither a current McDonald's franchisee nor a spokesman for McDonald's or its franchisees.

Challenging economic times affect everyone -- no matter where you shop or choose to eat. However, because of long-term collaborative efforts with McDonald's, its owner/operators and its suppliers (we call this relationship the three-legged stool, each leg being totally dependent on the other two), we're uniquely positioned to provide our customers with consistent value across our total menu every day. Now, while McDonald's does not set menu prices for franchised restaurants, I, like many of my fellow franchisees, overwhelmingly support the Dollar Menu as well as our overall value-menu strategy.

McDonald's is a brand our customers know and trust. Our customers also know they can depend on McDonald's to provide the everyday value and convenience they've come to expect every time they visit our restaurants.

Fred Huebner
McDonald's franchisee
Garner, N.C.

Underestimating video-game reach

RE: "Report Gauges the Real Reach of Growing Game Consumption." I have run both consumer and coin-op video-game companies, and I believe that you have left out the important multiple "frequency." I am not in the advertising business, but I have approved advertising campaigns placed in all forms of media.

The advertising agencies that I worked with always preached reach and frequency as equally important components to a successful marketing plan. With this in mind, the real value to advertising in a video game is dramatically understated.

According to the article, "Guitar Hero III" sold 5.29 million copies, which can be multiplied by 2.7 times because of the two-player nature of the game, thus giving it a total reach of 14.13 million.

Video-game companies will tell you that a commercially successful game must be played hundreds of times by the consumer. Accepting 100 times as a fair usage factor, then the real value of brand placement on a menu board and a high-score table ("Guitar Hero III") becomes a total reach of 14.13 million multiplied by the number of exposures within the game (two), which is then multiplied by the number of times the game is played, giving you a total of 2.83 billion exposures.

Hell of a buy for an advertiser who bought on a CPM based on an audience of 14.13 million.

Howie Rubin
Deerfield, Ill.

Raising awareness is pathway to change

RE: "Is Earth Day the New Christmas?" It is true we need to ensure authenticity, and the beauty of critics is that they will force that hand and out "greenwashers." The challenge is to not throw the baby out with the bath water (and, of course, use that gray water!). Awareness should create familiarity, which hopefully breeds trust, which helps drive purchases. Why are we so easily equating this drive toward familiarity with breeding contempt?

Instead of criticizing companies for bandwagoning on the green message or claiming green fatigue or what have you, let's concentrate on improving marketing communication about what each individual can do and why, and what each company is doing and how. I bet that consumer cynicism is partly fed by a fingers-in-the-ears resistance to change.

I'm with Ken Rother, president-chief operating officer of Tree Hugger and VP-operations of Planet Green Interactive, also quoted in another Ad Age article: "There are some companies that are still feeling their way around and probably greenwashing to some extent. ... This is the problem of our times, but anything that raises awareness is good."

Raising awareness is the pathway to change. The impetus to make those changes happens when it becomes personal. Let's work on making the messaging more relevant and relatable.

E.B. Moss
Moss Appeal Green
New York


RE: "The Catch-22 of Buying Black Media." The article stated there is no black-owned daily newspaper. The Daily Challenge in Brooklyn, N.Y., published by Thomas H. Watkins, runs five days a week.
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