Letters, July 14, 2008

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Ad industry obviously run by children

I read with great interest your "Changing Face of the U.S. Consumer," and was reminded that as long as 35 years ago, it was known far and wide that by the turn of the century the median age of consumers would be quite higher, which would, of course, necessitate the marketing strategy that would cater to that age group. Obviously, however, most companies chose to go the opposite direction with their advertising/marketing plans. Now they're wondering where the customers went.

Even churches are trying to change God to match young people. Today's ads are still catering to the young, using ad strategies that even make the man of the house look the dumbest of all creatures. I'm in the voice-over business and it's obvious that most of the writers and producers are young, know very little about writing and production and really don't care if they appeal to the target marketing group, as long as they can elicit a laugh out of someone who really doesn't buy what they're advertising anyway.

It's been my experience that a very large number of the people who make the decisions about advertising strategy, writing and production seem to have the mentality and maturity of 12-year-olds. They and their movie/sitcom counterparts are obsessed with body parts and body functions, so their actual sell doesn't really exist.
Jack Parnell
Memphis, Tenn.

Ad supplement brings back memories

With some pride and nostalgia I discovered that Librium had become the top tranquilizer (according to the mock June 23, 1960 issue of Ad Age). That was a rare breakthrough because, in those days, Advertising Age seldom took notice of develoments in the quaintly labeled field of "ethical" drug advertising. The agency, of course, wasn't Sterling Cooper but William D. McAdams, and I was the account supervisor-creative director on the Roche account. According to the article, some 30 tranquilizers were then on the market. Actually, we counted 66, and that became the theme of the campaign: "Librium, the successor to the tranquilizers."
John Kallir
Chairman Emeritus
Kallir Philips Ross
New York

Like so many others, I too was fascinated with the series "Mad Men" and its portrait of the advertising world in 1960. It was particularly reminiscent for me, as I had joined the advertising-sales department of Look Magazine in 1957 and spent the next 14 years representing that great magazine to the advertising world in both New York (l957-1968) and Detroit (l968-l971). Those were incredible years, indeed, with Look battling Life for major magazine leadership and rising to a record level of 8 million circulation in l969.

Magazines played a major role in building communication to America's homes in the '60s and were intimately involved with the advertising world in growing the industry to record levels. How well I remember my business years in Detroit during those golden days of the automobile industry.

I enjoyed your June 23, 1960, ad supplement. I would have liked it even more if greater emphasis had been given to the role of magazines during that year and those that followed. Hats off to all those professional advertising sellers and brilliant editors that made Look, Life and so many other national magazines household words in the '60s.
Alan Waxenberg
Scarsdale, N.Y.

Ad Age an example of adaptation to times

I have been a reader of Ad Age for as long as I can remember, and I must tell you I have never been more impressed with what seems like the "new you." As the industry has changed to become more inclusive of all things communications-oriented, from conventional stories to those that used to fall in an area many used to call "below the line" to emerging industries.

I found the July 7 issue (although thin in pages) very rich in content. For anyone who wants to see the change in this business, I encourage them to see how you yourself have adapted as the voice of the industry. Almost perfect. But I have one last request: The world of shopper marketing is one that I would like to see included as you continue to adapt to the changing marketplace.

Thanks for your effort.
Ken Barnett
Mars Advertising
Southfield, Mich.


RE: "Survey: More Buyers Expect to Spend Less in Most Media." A chart accompanying the story was mislabeled. The first of the three columns in the chart should have been labeled Wave Nine, April/May 2008 and the last column should have been labeled Wave Seven, April/May 2007.
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