Letters, July 27, 2009

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SC Johnson execs understand marketing

RE: "Off Clip-On Mosquito Repellent Attracts Swarms of Consumers" (AdAge.com). This is a classic example of a company that's working hard to stay connected to its audience, and boom! They've got a hit. It's probably because SC Johnson manufactures products that help people in simple and efficient ways. Many of its branded products have achieved the "generic" replacement. If you have a family, could you imagine life without Ziploc bags? Is there any other way to fix a clogged sink besides Drano? And I don't even know of another window cleaner that isn't named Windex.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this post is to hear that marketing managers at SC Johnson are involved in product development. This is an idea that some companies understand, while others wrestle with such a concept, based on corporate structures or internal hierarchies. What better way to articulate the marketing conversation than by developing a product that responds directly (and in this case, insightfully) to consumer needs?

Nader Ashway
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

We were lucky to work with Bernbach

RE: "Advertising Could Do With More of Bernbach's Genius" (AdAge.com, July 6). I was one of the "lucky ones" who started with DDB in the '60s as an art director.

Bernbach gave us—even minorities and women—the opportunity to create and we all became a part of "The Creative Revolution."

He believed in us, and that talent came before race and gender. Indeed, we were the lucky ones.

This fall, I have been given another opportunity: to help carry on Bernbach's legacy, his philosophy and examples by teaching a new course at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena: "The History of Creative Advertising. From Bernbach. To Clow. And Beyond."

Bernbach changed advertising forever. He made a difference.

He also gave me a chance.

Bob Matsumoto
Art director 1963-1976
DDB, N.Y. & L.A.
Pasadena, Calif.

Health-care reform will hurt business

Re: "Obama Wants to Avoid Health-Care-Reform Ad War" (AdAge.com, July 20). Any communication opposing health-care reform should focus on an informed opinion built on three key pillars:

1) The federal government's practice of shortchanging its medical bills.

2) The financial blow current legislation will have on businesses, consumers and the anemic economic recovery.

3) The Congressional Budget Office's declaration this proposal will fail to contain costs.

The Congressional Budget Office declared this reform will fail to meet the primary goal of containing costs and would actually expand the federal government's responsibility for health-care costs, of which it is not appropriately financing or paying its appropriate obligation.

The proposed "reform" legislation will move further responsibility to the hands of the federal government, who would in turn "negotiate for better rates," which translates to not meeting its financial obligations, while directly raising taxes on small and large businesses and taxing the insured directly out of their paychecks and indirectly through further premium and deductible hikes.

The proposed health-care-reform legislation will hit small and large businesses alike directly in the pocketbook through taxes. It will also hit everyone who has insurance, which will affect consumer confidence and spending.

Small business and consumer confidence and spending are by far the biggest engines that are needed to realize stable growth and recovery. Taxing them will slow any chances of that are currently under way.

As marketers, we are in the business of helping people find the right solutions for their daily challenges. I urge everyone reading this to look further into the proposed health-care-reform legislation, form a constructive opinion and make sure your representatives in Washington and the general public are aware of the impact and implications associated with the current proposals as you see them. Our industry and our country both urgently need good, informed opinions and leadership on this matter.

Rodney Mason
Frisco, Texas


RE: "People on the Move" (AA, June 22). Aimee Higgens is VP-sales strategy and planning at Pandora, not Right Brain Marketing.

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