Letters, August 25, 2008

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Nielsen numbers show CSPI is wrong

While the Aug. 7 article (AdAge.com, "NCAA Says It Won't Tighten Rules on Beer Ads") swallows the arguments of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a perennial advocacy group that is now in its seventh year of calling for an ad ban on beer advertising in college sports, it gratuitously includes a final comment that "Brewers ... have said ... the games and NCAA events telecast are viewed by a mostly adult audience." Anyone familiar with the advertising world knows, however, the data confirming the adult audience for college sports comes not from Anheuser-Busch or other brewers but from the gold standard of audience viewership monitoring -- the Nielsen Co.

Nielsen data show that the overwhelming majority of individuals who watch college sports are adults. For example, 89% of college-football (2007 season) and 86% of college-basketball (2007-2008 season) viewers were 21 or older. In addition, the average viewer age of this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament was 47. Who, besides those who would support banning beer advertising entirely, could claim this is not an appropriate way to reach adults?

We have also been at the forefront of addressing abusive drinking among college students. In fact, Anheuser-Busch and its nationwide network of wholesalers have invested more than $750 million on programs that are proven, targeted and effective in the fight against alcohol abuse. This includes innovative programs that reinforce responsible behavior among college students and which have yielded documented reductions of abusive drinking. We have supported these programs for a decade now through grants provided to nine universities. Eighteen years ago, we also endowed a grant program through the NCAA Foundation, which continues to provide funding for similar programs at NCAA member schools today.

We are proud of these efforts and will continue to follow strict standards to responsibly advertise and market our beers. The next time Ad Age wants to know the audience demographics for programming, we would suggest consulting Nielsen vs. an advocacy group.
Francine Katz
VP-communications and consumer affairs
St. Louis

Why the fascination with nipples, America?

As a fan of the U.S. and its people who was a one-time U.S. resident and who has started and sold a U.S. business and regularly visits many U.S. friends, I just don't get your continual fascination with Nipplegate and wardrobe malfunction.

Surely you should be much more concerned at the effect on young Americans of drug-feasting, baseball-record-breaking home-run hitters. Yet you allow this to continue unchecked, building false heroes for American youth, whilst you concentrate on highlighting what they certainly already know -- that women have breasts.

Have you got your priorities wrong or has this U.S. visitor missed something?
John Billett

Millennial buzz no more than sizzle

Your celebration of millennial marketing by Barack Obama is a bit premature. Unfortunately almost nothing you described in your cover article of Aug. 11 contributed materially to Obama's Democratic primary win. His margin of victory largely relied on two factors: incredible organization in caucus states where the impact was delivered by traditional Democratic Party loyalists and the proportional-delegate-distribution rule in the Democratic Party under which districts are allocated convention delegates by the size of the district's contribution to a Democratic victory in the last election -- something that inflated his delegate allocation in inner-city precincts. Neither of those relied on his deep-pocket financial resources. Technicalities such as the Michigan and Florida fiascos and the failure of the Clinton organization to have a post-Super Tuesday strategy sealed the deal for Obama. Major points to him for having pulled it off, but unless and until he actually beats John McCain (which is increasingly uncertain), all the millennial buzz represents nothing more than pre-product-launch sizzle -- and we all know how many times counting on that has led to a big letdown. Let's save the champagne for millennial marketing until Nov. 5.
John G. Rodman
Director-marketing and sales
Preservation Society of Newport County
Newport Mansions
Newport, R.I.


RE: Work of the Week (AA, Aug. 11). The featured work for HBO's "True Blood" should have been credited to And Company. Executive creative director: Etienne Jardel; creative directors: Tracy Weston and Melchior Lamy; art director/designer: Tony Nuss; copywriters: Tony Nuss, David Saltzman and Richard Goldman; agency producers: Courtney Campbell and Amy Brown.
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