I have never written to a magazine or called a radio station to express my opinion; however, after reading Scott Sedam's August 2005 article about advertising, I thought I needed to send kudos to Scott. I have always enjoyed reading Scott's articles in PB and found them to be very informative, thought-provoking and insightful, but never more than this article. This article brought back my memories from when I was in college. I thought a short story might amuse you.
Back in 1992 or 1993, I joined a bunch of my friends for a SuperBowl party. At some point during the party we learned that each commercial cost around $500,000 for 30 seconds. This did not seem to be a big deal since so many people watch the game for the entertainment value of the commercials. Companies with dazzling commercials would likely spend an additional large amount of money to produce the commercials thereby making a SuperBowl advertising budget significant, even if only running in one time slot.
Well, after seeing PepsiCo run at least half a dozen boring (not specially made for the SuperBowl) commercials, I came up with what I thought was a great idea. This idea was, in my opinion, so great that I actually wrote to the CEO of the company (the first and only other time I wrote to a company to express my opinion). My suggestion to PepsiCo was for them to consider only running one commercial during the next SuperBowl. This ad, though, should let all of the viewers know that they were only going to have one air time slot and the money which would typically be spent on the x number of spaces would instead be put to use by performing charitable contributions. My thought was that if they ran one ad stating what they were going to do with the millions of dollars not spent on the SuperBowl, they would likely get an exponentially greater amount of free advertising from all of the media buzz it would have created along with all of the buzz created every time they actually put the money saved on SuperBowl advertising to use. Plus, an even greater good would be served by helping the less fortunate along the way.
If you've seen the SuperBowl anytime since then, you would have seen that this never happened. Instead, I received a reply from PepsiCo saying that they currently donate to a significant amount of charities but thanks for my suggestion and here is a coupon for a free six pack of soda.
I am sure by now you have figured out why I was so excited by Scott's article. I hope that more people will spread the word that acts of kindness generate better publicity than do the screaming ads of nothingness that we are continuously bombarded with from all industries. Maybe people will eventually start listening. Thanks, and please keep inspiring us to be better builders and better people.
Maurice L Deprey, II, AIA, Marietta, Georgia 30062
Write to us by e-mail. Please include your name, company name, address and phone number.
write: Letters to the Editor, Professional Builder, 2000 Clearwater Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523