Letters, August 24, 2009

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Advertisers will return to print

RE: "Why Ad Pages Won't Ever Fully Return to Mags" (AdAge.com, July 27). Allow me to disagree: When advertisers come to their senses, like the prodigal son, they will run back to magazines. That's after they have realized what a big flop the internet was for them.

Now, The New Yorker is going to about 1 million affluent homes, and advertisers are scant.

BusinessWeek goes to another million of the heavy-hitters, and the advertisers are scarce. The average reader of Forbes is a millionaire and advertisers are vanishing.

They say: "I don't have to advertise. I have a website." And they live in desperate hope that someone will find their website.

Let's take one field: Say your wife wants to go on vacation to the Tuscany region of Italy. She asks you to look on the internet. You go to Google and type in "wine-tasting tours Tuscany" and up come 441,000 websites. That's not a typo! Four-hundred-forty-one thousand!

You turn it around: "Tuscany wine-tasting tours." 486,000. A little change: "culinary tours Tuscany."

Oh, good, that gets it down to a "manageable" 203,000. A whole lot of travel companies will just never be seen. But, they would have been noticed in The New Yorker, Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Travel, International Travel News, etc.

There's a book out now titled "Hope Is Not a Strategy." The internet is advertisers having hope that a potential customer finds them. Magazine advertising is the advertiser finding the customer.

Armond Noble
Sacramento, Calif.

A few more words about GM marketing

It's easy to sit back and throw stones. Al Reis sure did in his recent Ad Age diatribe about Bob Lutz and his marketing stewardship at the "new" General Motors. ("GM's Appointment of Lutz Shows No Respect for Marketing," AA, July 27.)

I couldn't disagree more with his take. It may just be semantics as we could be talking about the same thing, but calling it by a different name. Bob Lutz is absolutely the best and maybe the only choice right now for that insanely tough job. Who could be in a better position to direct the total communication effort on the comeback of this great institution than the guy who directed the conception and the development of the "star" players? I'm talking about the Chevy Malibu and the Chevy Camaro, the Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac CTS, to say nothing of the new SUVs, Chevys Traverse and Equinox, Buick Enclave, GMC's Acadia and Cadillac's new SRX.

Haven't we had enough of "marketing specialists" leading that company astray? GM has never recovered from the destructive effort of "professional marketers" like John Smale "The Toothpaste King" and Ron Zarella, who decimated the marketing direction in every GM division. "People don't care where the camshaft is, or whether the front wheels or the rear wheels drive the car," Smale lectured. "They just want to look good and feel good driving it." Staffing themselves with high-priced marketing talent whose major qualifications were that they "didn't like cars or had no experience selling them" led GM down a ruinous path that certainly accelerated its demise to eventual bankruptcy.

Bob Lutz is the quintessential "Car Guy." More simply, he loves cars, and that's what it is going to take to spark the New GM image change. It's in the car business; it builds and sell cars, good cars -- that very simply need to be reinvented.

The dictionary defines marketing as "the commercial process of developing, promoting, distributing and selling a product or a service." That sure sounds like Bob Lutz to me. In fact, I'm just about ready to "See the USA in my Chevrolet" all over again -- only this time it should be performed by Beyoncé.

Jim Wangers
Automotive consultant,
Oceanside, Calif.

RE: "'New' GM Leaner and Meaner, But Not By Much" (AdAge.com, Aug. 17). Until GM solves its branding crisis, how does it expect to generate more sales and revenue? Shaking things up means a lot more than just structured buyouts, cost cutting and new leadership. It really has to take a hard look at the business model and the way the company has been built.

Clay Schossow
Carrboro, N.C.


  • RE: People & Players (AA, Aug. 10). Sari Tuschma is editor in chief of Los Angeles Confidential, not Los Angeles magazine. Alison Miller is publisher of the same title.
  • RE: "Walmart Vendor Cut Likely to Hit Small Players" (AA, Aug. 10). Oil Dri Corp., which lost its largest customer Walmart, makes Jonny Cat and Cat's Pride litter. An article incorrectly said it made Tidy Cat, which is made by Nestlé Purina.
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