Letters, July 7, 2008

Published on .

Clorox, Sierra Club a model partnership

On behalf of Clorox and Sierra Club, we were disappointed with Mya Frazier's June 16 article ("Clorox Eco-Friendly Line Finds Green Foes"), which negatively characterizes our relationship. In fact, our partnership is strong.

For Sierra Club, we believe that through our partnership with Clorox and the Green Works brand, it is possible for a big company to take steps toward a sustainable future and help millions of consumers live a little greener every day. Therefore, we feel that the benefits of this partnership far outweigh opposition from a handful of detractors.

For Clorox, we look to consumer response as the biggest indicator of success, and it is clear we are going in the right direction. Since Clorox launched the Green Works brand, we have seen strong growth in natural cleaning, with Green Works products tracking No. 1 in their respective categories. In fact, Green Works has taken natural cleaning to the mainstream by expanding sales in the natural category more than 300% since the brand was introduced.

Ms. Frazier writes that "if there's a lesson here, it's to carefully review both sides of a relationship." Indeed, the six-month process required to vet the Clorox-Sierra Club partnership allowed enough time for careful review and approval. We believe Ms. Frazier actually missed the bigger lesson here: These partnerships will always face a certain level of scrutiny and opposition, but sometimes the result is worth it. In our case, this nontraditional relationship is exactly the direction that businesses and environmental organizations must move toward to achieve real progress.
Carl Pope
Executive director
Sierra Club

Don Knauss
Clorox Co.

Direct marketing is more than just mail

"Direct Marketing Is Not So Recession-Proof After All" is an irresistible headline because, as the reporter, Michael Bush, points out, the most accountable of marketing approaches should thrive in a down economy. Whether this headline is really true, however, lies in the details.

It is important to differentiate between direct marketing as a methodology (targeted, measurable, sustained through analytics) and the media types most often used by direct marketers (direct mail, online, DRTV, etc.). As Mr. Bush notes, it is not surprising that direct-mail usage is jeopardized by rising paper, transportation and postage costs. On the other hand, the online tactics used by ROI marketers are on the rise. (Agencies and suppliers that specialize more in the former than the latter may indeed have declining revenue.)

What about DRTV? Some of the savviest of advertisers are now seeing how much they have to gain by converting some of their TV tonnage buys to DRTV. They can air on the same networks and pay 50ยข on the dollar if they buy by daypart rather than program. Many companies incorporate this strategy into their plans even in the healthiest of economies, but it represents a real "value" during a recessionary period.

"DRTV is actually counter-cyclical" would have been worthy of study. Maybe even a subhead.
Lynn Fantom
ID Media
New York

Let's just disclose everything, then

Re: "Writers Guild Urges FCC to Disclose Product Integration." This is incredibly disingenuous. Is this the same Writers Guild whose ranks reached out directly to brands during the WGA strike to develop relationships and direct sources of funding for content development -- content that would clearly be a platform for brand integration? What's more, this requirement of "influence disclosure" is incredibly selective. Should we require an "on-screen crawl" disclosing political agendas? Philosophical biases? What about prior commercial influence? Say a brand's prior marketing efforts influenced a product being included in a story line by a writer. Shouldn't that also be disclosed? Shouldn't the business interests, political agendas, etc. of studios, networks, writers and others involved in any content creation appear onscreen at any moment to reveal any potential conflict of interest or undisclosed relationship?
Sean Kegelman
New York

Wouldn't that rule make it more of an advertisement, not less of one? It would give the product that much more credibility to have the message in an onscreen crawl, the same way emergency information is given out. It also forces the attention of the viewer to the paid product placement. My clients would love to have a crawl telling the viewer to notice their product placement.
Chris Siebeneck
Salt Lake City
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