AAF Launches Campaign for Ads

Carmichael Lynch Seeks to Show CEOs That Advertising Has Value
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The fear that many corporate executives do not consider advertising necessary to increase sales has prompted an ad lobby group to develop a campaign to change the attitudes of managers.
The American Advertising Federation has selected Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis to create a two-year, integrated campaign stressing the importance of advertising to chief executive officers, presidents and other corporate chieftains of 1,500 company brands with ad budgets of $10 million or more.
AAF launched the campaign after surveying 1,800 top managers. In the minds of executives, advertising takes a back seat in importance to product development, strategic planning and public relations when it comes to increasing sales, the survey found.
CL took a Marshall McLuhan-style “The medium is the message” tack after studying executives’ lifestyles and plans to put ads in places where they least expect them. The strategy is designed to hit executives in both their personal and professional lives. “They will trip over this stuff,” said John Colasanti, CL’s director of account management.
But the effort got off to a shaky start Friday. Colasanti, speaking at the AAF’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., illustrated how the campaign would work with a day in the life of fictional client “Scott Baker, vice president and director of marketing at General Mills.”
Colasanti said Baker would read an article in The New York Times about the launch of the campaign. “That didn’t happen today but we hope it will,” Colasanti said.
Ideally, executives will get a letter from the AAF about the campaign, see ads in The Wall Street Journal and Business Week in October, catch a banner ad on the Internet, while checking their investments, pick up a pad at Northwest Airlines with the AAF logo and see ads in Golf Magazine. The hope is that clients will feel they must increase their ad budgets.
CL bested three “large, national agencies” for the account, said an AAF representative who declined to identify the contenders.
AAF officials were impressed with the agency’s integrated marketing experience. CL is providing creative services for the campaign pro bono, while the AAF will fund production costs. Print space for the work will largely depend on donations by magazines and newspapers favored by executives. Agency officials estimate the work is equivalent to a $12 million campaign.
The tagline is, “Advertising: A new brand of business.”