Letters, Sept. 28, 2009

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Publishers should cut 'bleed' fees

Regarding "Condé Nast Execs to Make Big Cuts, Insiders Say" (AdAge.com, Sept. 14): It would be terrific if McKinsey's analysis went beyond cost controls and also included a review of Condé Nast's pricing policies to ensure those policies are in alignment with marketplace realities. One such policy under scrutiny from advertisers is charging an incremental fee for bleed ads. Once upon a time, publishers may have had real costs associated with the production of bleed ads. But today's printing and production technologies no longer require the press stoppages and plate changes that resulted in those real costs. Condé Nast is one of the few remaining major publishers (Hearst is another) that has not eliminated these obsolete bleed charges, and the ANA strongly suggests that the time has come to do so.
Bill Duggan
Group exec VP
New York

Focus on viewing patterns a mistake

RE: Media, Marketers and Agencies Challenge Nielsen's Ratings Monopoly" (Mediaworks, Sept. 10): Once again, the traditional advertising industry is a day late and a dollar short. While the Council for Innovative Media Measurement's goal to measure viewership and audience behavior across platforms (TV, mobile, web) is spot on, they are on the verge of making a classic mistake. Continuing to focus on what consumers are watching and where they are watching it is not nearly enough. It's what people do in response to our messaging -- and an understanding of what combinations of media platforms drove their response -- that will allow us to deliver engaged, responsive consumers to drive our clients' revenue. Alan Wurtzel is right that "no one is measuring cross-platform the way we need it to be measured." Isn't it time that traditional and direct-response advertisers joined forces to save TV advertising?
Jonathan Anastas
Strategic advisor to the office of the CEO
Mercury Media
Santa Monica, Calif.

Some debate over Etsy's great CG ads

RE: Bob Garfield's "How Etsy Made Us Rethink Consumer-Generated Ads" (AdAge.com, Sept. 21). As good as these ads may be, they're all one-offs. There is no way to use crowd-sourcing to build a brand. The results are too random. I'd like to see how crowd-sourcing would turn these ads into campaigns, complete with interactive, experiential, print, etc. Unless the creator of the winning spot becomes the creative director, all you have is one nice ad, whereas the job of the agency (and what will keep ad agencies relevant for decades to come) is creating a brand -- something much, much bigger. To continue with an analogy, anyone off the street can sink a basket, but few can lead a team and get it to the playoffs.
Roman Tsukerman
New York

Great stuff, and one of the few times I've seen crowd-sourced creative work well. Here are two reasons I see it's working well for them: 1. Love. Etsy's fan base is extremely devoted. For brands that inspire passion, and have a very creative fan base, you'll get entries that amaze, for not much financial reward. For toilet paper and potato chips, not so much. 2. All creative entries can be seen. This is important -- extremely important. It's perhaps the most important driver for any creative person. Making something that has a chance to be seen is what drives many creative people. Since this competition is open and allows freedom of creativity, people are drawn to enter it. If only the top-voted entry were seen, it would be very different. Unfortunately, not all clients are willing to be so open -- 99.9% of the time, the ideas creatives in ad agencies/production companies come up with never get seen. And that's what those creative people are paid for: constant, quality creative in the face of rejection and anonymity.

Tim Geoghegan
New York

Why is this even surprising? Doesn't it stand to reason that CG content/advertising will be better when it's promoting a vertical filled with highly passionate people/users (vs., say, generic snack foods)? These people understand the experience better than most (and probably way more than any agency). Beyond that, the "agency is dead" angle, though, is really boring. Is it all changing? Sure. So what? Move along ... nothing to see here.

Todd Lieman
Skadaddle Media
Sausalito, Calif.


RE: "Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards" (AA, Sept. 21). The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was referred to as the Susan B. Komen foundation. We regret the error.

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