Letters, Oct. 6, 2008

Published on .

McD's Takes Issue With Credit Claims The Sept. 29 Ad Age article "Credit Crunch Takes Bite Out of McDonald's" leaves readers confused. In it, the headline contradicts the article, and the article contradicts the facts. The introduction claims that issues with a major banking lender threaten the national rollout of McDonald's McCafe Coffees in 2009. This is completely inaccurate and misleading.

Bank of America said it is not freezing any current or new lines of credit to McDonald's franchise owners.

Ad Age chose to bury this same fact under five paragraphs of inaccuracies and speculation. Much of the rest of the article is rife with the kind of economic doom and gloom that preys on the fears of market watchers and insults the intelligence of your readers.

We want to set the record straight. McDonald's USA is working hard to become our customers' favorite beverage destination. Our national beverage strategy is on target and progressing as planned. We're excited about this opportunity and what it means for McDonald's and our customers.

There continues to be more than sufficient liquidity available to McDonald's and our franchisees to fund capital improvements in our restaurants. Several national, regional and local lenders are providing financing to our franchisees in the United States.

The company and our franchisees are aligned, and our Plan to Win continues to deliver strong results. There is no credit crisis at McDonald's.
Lee Renz
VP-national beverage strategy
McDonald's USA
Oak Brook, Ill.

Editor's note: Bank of America credit lines were not as forthcoming as usual for McDonald's franchisees. McDonald's own internal memo referred to loan demand "exceeding historical norms" and said Bank of America's announcement "last weekend of its intention to acquire an investment bank and the volatility in the debt markets, especially this past week, have impacted BofA's ability to get the quick solution originally anticipated." That does not mean that credit lines have been frozen, and we are pleased to clarify that point.

Column made glaring sports omissions

RE: "2008: The Best-Ever Year in Sports" (MediaWorks, AdAge.com, Sept. 30). There was one glaring omission in this piece. Where was Nascar?

Nascar and its corporate sponsors generate over a billion dollars a year in ad revenue, and your contributor didn't think it was worth mentioning in the same breath as the Olympics and the NFL?

He mentions Wimbledon, the Stanley Cup and the U.S. Open but not Nascar, which beats any one of them in corporate advertising dollars spent and TV ratings.

What were you thinking in publishing that article?

I think I know. Nascar and its blue-collar constituents are not the kind of people that read your magazine, isn't that right? So no need to mention them, huh?

I really enjoy your magazine and use it to stay abreast of happenings in the advertising world, but you really should be ashamed of yourselves for publishing an article that blatantly ignores a billion-dollar ad market just because it works in places like Charlotte, N.C., and Bristol, Tenn., and not on Madison Avenue.
Todd Haslett
Peoria, Ill.

Not a great column. You forgot a sport that is older than the ones you listed! Why no numbers for professional rodeo, including bull riding? The athletes are participating in events that are man against 1,500-pound beast. More than 150 million fans consider this a sport, yet you forget that. You also have many sponsors that have spent millions on these local events and even in sponsoring these athletes that represent them.
Dago Sanchez
Portland, Ore.

Preparing your agency for school

RE: "How to Recruit on Campus" (GenNext blog, AdAge.com, Oct. 1). There is nothing more frustrating than companies that say all the same fancy words, like "We're innovative and progressive," but don't tell anything about what the company is really like.
Sara Burton


RE: "Karmazin: Damned If He Does -- and If He Doesn't" (AA, Sept. 29.) The story said Mel Karmazin was CEO of CBS Corp. when he left the company to go to Sirius in May 2004. Mr. Karmazin was chief operating officer of Viacom, and he joined Sirius in November 2004. Also, Mr. Karmazin stated, "We have not seen anything on churn where the consumer has said we don't want to pay for satellite radio." The word "don't" was missing from the original quote.
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