Reading your article "1998 Proves It's Not Just About the Work" [The Year in Review, Jan. 4], I was struck by quotes from people whom I have admired for years. What surprised me were opinions given in evaluating advertising's effectiveness. "Make the cash register ring" has always been the point of advertising, hasn't it?
Cliff Freeman stated, "All advertising can ever do is get a trial ... You have to have the right product and hit the right wave." To one extent, he's right. All the message can do is create a desire for a product. It's the responsibility of the product to retain that trial. Retention, retrial, often comes from repeated exposure to the message(s).
What I learned decades ago, and have repeated to my staff, franchisees and others learning about marketing and advertising, is: "Don't confuse 'advertising' with the creative message." Advertising is the multifaceted act of marketing a product. It has been, and may always be, the combination of all these things: a good product at a good value, a good marketing plan, targeting the right audience, creative that supports the product's key selling points, the right vehicle (print or broadcast) targeted and placed correctly, a budget to do the job "right" and an overall plan that is monitored for effectiveness and adjusted as necessary to accomplish the goals.
Having worked on both sides of this business for more than 25 years, I'm still amazed at how many people seem to be surprised when a client says, "This isn't working." It takes a listening account person to hear a client's needs, confirm those needs and translate direction in such a way that the creative team can "make it work."
Then, taking an active part, not a messenger role in the whole creative process, the account person should make sure the presented creative meets the client's marketing needs. When all players involved realize they are on the same team, everyone can win. There will always be risks. There will always be "gut feels." There are no givens, no absolutes, no right and no wrong answers.
I find it incredible that after all these years, there are those who still value an ad by its award-winning ability vs. its ability to move the client's business forward. The client's goals, the product, the consumer's response those are the ends against which the means will be measured. Nothing's changed. Only the year on the calendar.
Director, client services
Huerta Design, Glendale, Calif.
J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!
While I'm happy the Tostitos ad featuring Bill Parcells, head coach of the New York Jets, was included in Best Spots [Jan. 18], your personal feelings about the team were totally uncalled for. If you were aiming for a laugh, you went wide right. Stick with your job assignment--to assess and critique the creative that's coming out of today's ad agencies. No one is interested in learning that you're a sore loser.
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