Letters, Feb. 16, 2009

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Subway thinks fresh on Phelps response

Good for Subway to stand by Michael. I have never tried Subway, but I will go out of my way to buy turkey subs now! I will also spend more money on my Visa card too! This kind of support by these companies helps to show confidence and solidify their brand. I will not purchase any more Kellogg's products for my household!
Carolyn Ware
Carolyn Ware & Associates
Tiburon, Calif.

An ad isn't a bargain unless its makes a sale

RE: "Super Bowl Detractors Need to Look Beyond the Spots" (AA, Feb. 2). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry after reading your editorial about Super Bowl ads being "a bargain."

Having grown up as a "black sheep" direct marketer in the world of advertising, to me, it's all about making the sale. In this economy advertisers are having to justify spending and provide ROI for each effort. Though I applaud the attempt to quantify success for Super Bowl ads, most of the metrics you cite are only an early step in the sales process and don't necessarily mean that the ad was a success.

Only the E-Trade metrics addressed acquisition of new accounts. But even there, I would ask, at what cost per sale, and how does that compare to other acquisition-marketing methods?

Bottom line: How did the ad affect sales, and how efficiently? A bargain is only a bargain if it makes sales.

Paulette Wilhelmy
Belacoso Communications
Huntington Beach, Calif.

Prism was flawed execution of good idea

RE: "Nielsen Suspends Prism Data System" (AdAge.com, Jan. 23). Before we lament the implications of the demise of Prism and mourn its loss, let's first celebrate its origin and respect its promise. Nielsen, P&G, Walmart, The In-Store Marketing Institute and others should be applauded for the intention. Namely, a recognition that branding also occurs in-store and at shelf, that the store is also a medium, and that if shopper marketing is going to be funded by both brand and sales, a tool of measurement is needed to determine the success for both contributors. Sales funding measured by sales lift is as simple as it gets. But brand funding? How does one measure this in-store? How does brand plan and invest in these dangerous, unchartered waters? Prism pledged a model of equivalencies for media planners, buyers and brand managers that would reflect data currently used for traditional media planning and buying. The enthusiasm that resulted from this promise was appropriately significant. And, it would be a mistake for everyone that needs and demands success in-store to equate the end of a concept to the absence of need. The need is still very real. And the promise is as exciting as ever.

Moving forward, the idea of Prism can be greatly improved if it starts out as an instrument for the manufacturer and retailer first and for the media agency second. Shopper marketing is not just transactional (in-store media execution). It is highly strategic, based upon brand strategy, opportunities to influence shopper behavior, category-management objectives and, of course, revenue just to name a few touch points. For media-measurement equivalencies and values for impressions to succeed, they must be measured against the stated goals of any singular shopper marketing campaign, considered against a formula of weighted touch points, and analyzed against category shoppers for any one retail banner in any geography.

At Blue Chip, we have been implementing V.I.P. (Value of Impression Performance), our own proprietary in-store metrics, to great success over the past two-years. It has been measured against top-10 retail banners on behalf of major CPG. Ultimately, it has delivered a fact-based methodology to solve the age-old question of "how do I justify investing my marketing budget against the retail customer?" More important, V.I.P. delivers on the larger paradigm shift that PRISM would have influenced. It changes the discussion of shopper marketing from tactical to strategic; from a sales-driven practice to a sales and brand-driven practice; and it lowers the risk profile of the advertiser as spending becomes more measured and accountable. After all, isn't hope, change and less risk what we all desire in 2009?

Stanton L. Kawer
Chairman-chief creative officer
Blue Chip
Northbrook, Ill.


A chart in the Feb. 9 edition of Advertising Age incorrectly listed Chrysler as having naming rights for an arena at the University of Michigan. It does not. The correct spelling is Crisler Arena.

RE: "Ed McMahon's Bad Ad Steals the Super Bowl" (AA, Feb. 2). DDB, Chicago, was credited with all of Anheuser-Busch's Clydesdale spots for Budweiser. In fact, one Clydesdale spot, "Generations," was created by Waylon Ad, St. Louis.

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