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Needed: new ways to engage consumers

I agree 100% with the views in Advertising Age's editorial "Marketing's age of accountability" (Viewpoint, AA, July 8).

However, this is not new news. All you have to do is talk to clients. Most advertisers realize that the way they advertised in the past no longer guarantees success in the future.

Why? First, because competitors watch and copy. Second, because customers no longer feel the buzz of something new.

Advertisers are looking for agencies that will help them develop new ways of engaging their customers. Rule books need to be ripped up. Structures and systems need to be rewritten. But the opportunities are immense.

Traditional advertising will get a smaller piece of the pie, and new ideas, such as entertainment tie-ins, will flourish. But that's just the beginning. It's now time for agencies to be really creative.

Until recently, I ran the "agency of the decade" in the U.K. [Chime Communications' HHCL & Partners] and I have taken the plunge to set up a new company that will help shape the future of marketing. It's an exciting territory to be in.

Robin Azis




Ad agencies ignored `little secret' of PR

I read "Ads don't build brands, PR does" (AA, July 15), about Al and Laura Ries' new book, "The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR." Once again they provide insights that have been staring us in the face for many years.

I worked alongside an ad agency for many years. I ran a sister PR firm. The little secret was we always knew PR was many times more compelling than advertising in launching brands.

We also knew we made more money from larger paid media advertising.

Ad agencies often find themselves compromised, and this was the case until clients began carving out PR budgets and forcing integration. Now larger multinational ad agencies have got religion and acquired PR firms. They are, all of a sudden, the PR experts, which is pretty disingenuous. The better PR firms are now at the table with clients when marketing strategy is set, and sometimes advertising is relegated to being the "tool" that follows PR.

I agree with Al and Laura's thinking: It is all about news and what is new.

Great brands are built best by referral-your wife, child, friend, neighbor saying, "You have to try this." The next best source of this endorsement is reading or seeing a product brought to you by an unbiased third party: the media. Smart clients realize this. That's why great brands like Nike, Gillette and Miller Brewing have PR as an all-important ingredient, often a leading role, in the mix.

Peter Morrissey

Morrissey & Co.


The true origin of `positioning'

The article "Ries' thesis: Ads don't build brands, PR does" (AA, July 15), on my ex-partner's latest book, declares that Al Ries was the coiner of "positioning."

Others have told me they thought Regis McKenna was the originator of the concept in high-tech land. And then there is the group that felt that Michael Porter started it with his "Positioning for Competitive Advantage."

Perhaps it's time to clear it all up.

The first appearance of the concept was in a 1969 article I wrote for the now defunct Industrial Marketing magazine, entitled "Positioning is a game people play in today's me-too marketplace." This was followed by a 1971 article entitled "Positioning revisited." [Editor's note: BtoB, a sibling publication of Ad Age, is the successor publication to Industrial Marketing.]

The next year, Al Ries and I popularized the concept with 1972 articles in Ad Age and a book on the subject in 1980.

Separately, I wrote a follow-up book on the concept in 1996, entitled "The New Positioning."

The rest is all history of perhaps the most important concept ever developed in the marketing world. I guess it all comes down to the famous quote that "victory has many fathers."

Jack Trout


Trout & Partners

Old Greenwich Conn.

Phillips is right

Re: Graham Phillips' "Let's Fix advertising" (Forum, AA, May 20). We are a non-traditional out-of-home media company. Ninety-five percent of our billings are direct from clients-not small clients but Procter & Gamble, Gillette, General Motors, Mars, etc.

Agencies don't get us.

They know it works (we've proved that). But they don't put us on schedules.

Phillips is spot on with his concern about TV ad clutter. ... Still, agencies continue to throw money into TV and other media not as effective as they once were.

If media consumption is changing, and ad agencies are "not getting" the value of new forms of media, where do agencies maintain their relevance in the future?

Tom Reilly


Eastern Region

Next Generation Network

New York


* In " DDB freezes hiring and salaries" (July 29, P. 2), the report that DDB Worldwide failed to meet second quarter goals was incorrect, a DDB spokeswoman said. She said it had met its goals. Also, the spokeswoman said DDB had not implemented a salary or hiring freeze on a companywide basis and that individual agency offices in the DDB Worldwide network make their own decisions on those matters.

* In "Nissan blasted for urban pick" (July 29, P. 1), Clifford Franklin, president of Final Phase Marketing's Fuse, St. Louis, was misidentified as Clifford Freeman.

* In "Ayres plans to push Jaguar X-type sales to 50,000 units" (July 22, P. 36), it was incorrectly stated that Jaguar North America plans to sell 50,000 X-Types in the U.S. this year. Of the 50,000 units, of all models, that Jaguar plans to sell in the U.S. this year, it expects about 30,000 will be X-Types.

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