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Re: "Unraveling the media myth" (Viewpoint, AA, Nov. 11). I'm as willing to hear a fable well told as the next guy, but come on already. I've heard one too many media executive at mega-media organizations claim they're not "really that big" while simultaneously hearing the unbundled companies claim "they're not really unbundled."

Does the adage "thou protest too much" ring a bell here? You bet.

This industry has enough credibility issues to handle without the business end playing both sides of the fence. There is no "one size fits all." A reality check is in order. There are media groups of varying shapes and sizes. There are clients with varying needs and expectations. Collectively, there's enough diversity to find happy homes for both the geese and the ganders.

Alan Jurmain

Exec VP

Director of Media Services

Lowe Worldwide

New York

ACNielsen, IRI story one-sided: ACNielsen

As a subscriber to Advertising Age, I have always considered your magazine to be one of integrity and professionalism. I was therefore stunned by the flagrant lack of adherence to the most basic tenets of journalism exhibited by "P&G pits rivals in data review" (AA, Nov. 11). The story's one-sided maligning of our company and a sister company was appalling.

When ACNielsen and Information Resources Inc. declined to comment on that which only our client should address, it is understandable for a reporter to seek a neutral third party's perspective. However, the former chairman of IRI is hardly a neutral party. Further, to allow his highly defamatory comments directed toward our organization to go unchallenged lacked any sense of journalistic integrity.

Lastly, the very existence of this story, timed to appear just weeks before an important client decision is due, would lead the most casual observer to congratulate IRI for the ease with which it manipulated Advertising Age. I can only hope to see better reporting from your publication in the future.

Steven M. Schmidt

President-The Americas

ACNielsen Corp.

Schaumburg, Ill.

Editor's note: ACNielsen declined the opportunity to comment when the article was prepared and Advertising Age stands by its story.

Change `traditional' focus-group ideas

As the headline in the your article "Ad execs bash focus groups" (AdAge.com QwikFIND ID: aao21n) suggests, there is a backlash against the heavy-handed use of focus groups.

As an account planner, I have deep sympathy for creatives who find their work battered to the point of destruction by poorly handled focus groups. There is, however, some hope.

At forward-thinking advertising agencies across the country, account planners are searching for alternatives to "traditional" focus groups. They're eliminating two-way mirrors, allowing creatives and clients to interact directly with respondents; finding non-traditional locations; and spending more time analyzing responses to uncover richer, more revealing insights.

The days of fluorescent lights, two-way mirrors and overflowing bowls of M&Ms are slowly but surely coming to an end. It's now time to embrace these new forms of alternative research and to encourage their development.

Ed Cotton

Director of Account Planning

Butler, Shine & Stern

Sausalito, Calif.

What's so special about these ads?

I was surprised to read Randall Rothenberg's rapturous column about Time Warner Cable's new marketing campaign ("Marty Cooke finds a calling; it's bigger than advertising," Viewpoint, AA, Nov. 11).

Whilst I congratulate Marty Cooke for finding his "metier" with his new "channel agnostic" company, I'm disappointed he would consider an idea based around that most-tired cliche, the flying pig, as an example of "thinking outside the silos."

C'mon guys, really?

The old flying pig is about as original in advertising as "How often does a deal this great come along?" (Cut to blue moon). Or "How easy is to find a deal this great?" (Cut to needle in haystack). A stale idea, no matter how "gorgeously" produced, is still stale.

Cooke and Rothenberg are both smart guys, but let's be honest. Marty, you can do better. Randall, you should know better.

Paul Bernasconi

Creative Director/Partner


New York

Promo clutter snarls Fox football telecasts

Rance Crain's column about Fox promos during the World Series was right on target ("Take me out to the ball game, if only to escape Fox promos," Viewpoint, AA, Nov. 4). I'd like to know what he thinks about Fox promos during football games.

We're Packer fans in our house and noon on Sundays is the start of our "second Mass." My wife and I have to constantly mute the show promos because they're as rude as the shows. My ten-year-old daughter is a football nut and I don't want her exposed to that crap.

After another bout of muting, she looked at me and asked, "Is there any show on this channel I can watch?" (She's obviously pretty smart, too.)

Fox promos are so ubiquitous it makes me wonder if they have any sales staff at all. I guess, in the end, I'm complaining more about their programming, but where does all this self-promotion end?

Matt Deshler


Department of Marketing

University of Wisconsin- La Crosse

La Crosse, Wis.


* In "Five submit bids for Weider titles" (Nov. 25, P. 3), a cover from Self magazine was included by error among three magazine covers identified as titles published by Weider Publications. Self is published by Conde Nast Publications.

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