Letters, Nov. 9, 2009

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Sequential-payment piece wrong on facts

RE: "Sequential Payment, 'Preferred Vendors': Has It Come to This?" (AA, Oct. 26). Matt Miller wrongly accuses Verizon of refusing to pay production companies overtime.

Trouble is that Miller doesn't have his facts straight. While Miller is correct that our jobs are handled on a cost-plus basis, he is inaccurate in writing that we have recently enacted a policy that mandates we do not pay our production companies overtime. In fact, Verizon asks production companies to bid based on a 10-hour work day, and we pay overtime beyond that when it is required.

Like any other advertiser, we seek to control our costs, but not by treating unfairly our suppliers and vendors.

Eric Rabe
Senior VP-media relations
New York

As a commercial post-producer, I appreciated Matt Miller's critique of recent policy changes by agencies and clients that have been detrimental to production companies.

However, as I read the article my feeling of solidarity disappeared when I got to his statement, "A production company is the last stop in the creative journey; it's where a marketing strategy gets shaped, polished, and finished as a communication." With this comment he negated the creative contributions of post production to the collaborative endeavor of commercial production.

Whether editors are saving problematic footage by coming up with creative solutions, or maximizing the impact of really great footage, they are certainly an essential part of the shaping and polishing that happens in the creative process. And the creative effects of color correction, visual effects, graphics, etc. are obvious.

I will assume that Miller's slight was not deliberate, but as those in post production struggle along with everyone else in the industry to maintain certain standards in this economy, it is a disservice.

Molly Baroco
Executive producer
Jam Edit

Readers care about story, not the source

RE: "As Media Market Shrinks, PR Passes Up Reporters, Pitches Directly to Consumers" (AdAge.com, Oct. 26) One of the more interesting things we've seen in running advertorial experiments is that the reader interest is far more dependent on how interesting the story is, not the source or format. Customers run all kinds of stories -- news announcements, advocacy platforms, feature articles -- and we can see the reaction of readers in the clicks on the various parts of the article and featured headline.

The funny thing is, the absolute worst-performing story we ever saw was written by a PR firm, for an advertising agency client. The performance was an absolute zero -- nearly statistically impossible, so much so that we thought something was broken. We investigated -- nope, just incredibly boring.

I hope that PR firms are ready to face the wrath of consumers when they do direct-to-consumer PR. It's not so much that they'll be mad at you -- far worse, they'll ignore you.

Dana Todd
La Jolla, Calif.

'Direct' is fine the way it is

Re: Bob Knorpp's "The Word 'Direct' Is Dragging Down Response-Based Marketing" (AA, Nov. 2). The idea that direct-response marketing should not be called "direct" is absurd. Direct response is no more or less synonymous with unwanted mail than "Madison Avenue" is with stupid TV commercials. As for lowly creative standards, we direct marketers chant as our mantra the famous Benton & Bowles campaign tagline: "It's not creative unless it sells."

Poseur Knorpp also accuses us direct marketers of "preaching results over brand," and in this he's right on. The ROI of every campaign I write can be measured down to the penny. If Knorpp could claim the same, then he'd know what works in getting consumers to buy instead of, like most generalists and branding people, just guessing.

Bob Bly
River Vale, N.J.


RE: "Business Mags Face Harsh Reality" (AA, Nov. 2). Ad pages over the first three quarters fell 31% at Forbes and 35% at Fortune, not, as the article said, the other way around.

Re: "Geico's Ted Ward Is Ad Age's No. 26 Power Player," (AA, Nov. 2). Geico has worked with Horizon media for 17 years, not seven as the story stated.

RE: "Latest Ad Scammers: Faux Agency Execs," (AA, Nov. 2). The parent company of Initiative was misidentified. Initiative is part of Interpublic Group.

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