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This gay mag thrives

I was disappointed in "Re-thinking gay media's place" (Spe-cial Report, AA, Feb. 26). The story painted a bleak picture for gay magazines, and did a disservice to the objectivity of the story by not including any examples of successful gay media. After interviewing me, Ad Age apparently chose to exclude Hero Magazine from the story because we did not echo the difficulties currently being experienced by Instinct, Genre and Out.

Hero has experienced rapid growth and a favorable reaction from both advertising agencies and media planners. Our mainstream approach has helped attract advertisers such as United Airlines, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and Kraft, among many others. Our ad revenue for the first quarter of this year is up 400% from last year, and Library Journal has called Hero "one of the most notable magazines of the year."

The gay market is still one of the last untapped markets, and it is important to recognize that, while older gay magazines may be finding resistance, there are others breaking new ground and thriving.

Sam Francis

Publisher & Co-Founder

Hero Magazine

Los Angeles

Whither responsibility?

As an instructor of mass media at Santa Rosa Junior College, I require students to submit an analysis of advertising images culled from current magazines. Two of the ads were incredibly offensive and call for comment. One is a Dior ad found in the current issue of Talk magazine. It depicts a woman, who appears to have been beaten and raped, being thrown from a truck. (maybe wearing Dior was the problem). The other is a Candies Fra-grance ad found in Cosmopolitan, Jane and Seventeen magazines. It depicts rock star Mark McGrath having sexual intercourse with a young woman in a bathroom. (Nice image for those young teens who read Seventeen; Cosmopolitan is basically soft-porn anyway.)

There is a question here about social responsibility. I posed it on both the Dior and Candies Web sites. I never got an answer. Maybe if you print this letter in Ad Age the irresponsible agencies will address the issue in your Letters section.

Ed LaFrance

Communication Studies

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Garfield on target

I would just like to thank Bob Garfield for his perfect assessment of the new military ad campaigns for both the Army and Navy. ("Navy finds ad coordinates, spots speed straight to ego," Ad Review, AA, March 19). I was horrified when I saw the "Army of One" slogan. It goes against everything that I experienced during the four years I served in the U.S. Army. I was never an "Army of One," and I was certainly not allowed to run around the battlefield alone with helicopters circling overhead as the ad campaign would lead you to believe. It's just too ridiculous for words. I thought Mr. Garfield's observation that we are marketing the Navy the same way we sell drugs was perfect and made me laugh out loud at the irony. So, kudos to Mr. Garfield for bringing laughter into a former service member's day.

Donna Lorenson

(A former Army officer)

Ruder Finn

New York

Army slogan lives on

Regardless of whether or not "Army of One" is the marketing answer for the U.S. Army, "Be All You Can Be" will live on. It's chiseled on the headstone of General Max Thurman, U.S. Army, in Arlington National Cemetery. He is the one who bought the line.

Chuck Windsor


American Business Media

New York

Editor's note: Mr. Windsor was senior VP-promotion director on the Army account for the 13 years the assignment was at Young & Rubicam.

Pfizer did it first

The well-intentioned editorial on medical marketers' direct-to-consumer ads ("Side effects in FDA Rx rules," Viewpoint, AA, Feb. 12) was a bit off the mark. It suggested it was a new idea to "give no product name" while urging consumers to see their physician about a particular medical problem. In truth, some 20 years ago Pfizer took the lead with a series of TV spots identifying symptoms of various diseases-depression, arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure among them-and urging physician contact while not mentioning any Pfizer product. Those spots helped create awareness and build the overall market (of which Pfizer earned a good share). Other pharmaceutical companies have followed suit.

And, while the physician remains the gatekeeper for prescriptions, it's important to note that multiple billions are spent on direct-to-consumer prescription pharmaceutical advertising. Some of that is well spent on effective advertising, while a substantial portion is a waste of corporate earnings.

John L. Palshaw


Palshaw Measurement

Pebble Beach, Calif.


* In "`Who Moved Cheese?' becomes acquired taste" (March 26, P. S-6), Harvard Business School said author Spencer Johnson is a consultant to the Harvard Business School and not a member of the faculty.

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