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The Creative Challenge I read your roundtable on the challenges of creativity with keen interest. In a perverse way it’s good to see not much has changed in the last 25 years: clients are risk averse, agencies are greatly misunderstood and under appreciated, DDMAC is a bunion on the big toe of progress, etc. The dynamics which describe this malaise are too tedious for even me to recount. A hundred ad lives ago small Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical Company became experimental fodder for Procter & Gamble’s interest in pharmaceutical marketing. At that time, I was taken in by the missionaries from Cincinnati to be washed, fed, and baptized in the religion of customercentric advertising. To this end, a bowtied curmudgeon, appren ticed in the Holy Temple of Moon and Stars, rode into town bearing the principles of good advertising. Mr. Dick McKinney, a brilliant apologist for the advertising arts, came to Norwich to help us, young and old, to begin to under stand: how to spot great advertising when we saw it; how to articulate and demand the key criteria for great advertising (on strategy, sim ple, relevant and real, stopping power, and the big idea); and that healthcare advertising isn’t exempt from the rules of human behavior that are at play in the creation of great package goods advertising. More importantly, Mr. McKinney’s interest in and patience with us pygmies communicat ed the importance the company (then Nor wich Eaton Division of Procter & Gamble) was now going to place on the nurturance of good advertising. Mr. McKinney helped make the point that great advertising, like great wine, needs learned tasters as well as learned vintners. Until healthcare companies spend the resources to create, then reward advertising connoisseurs, and until ad agencies find some creative leaders that know their way around a positioning statement and marketing plan — we’re doomed to keep repeating the script so painfully chronicled in your article. We know better. Matthew R. Seymour SENIOR MARKETING COUNSELOR DML CONSULTING OutoftheBox I found the article (March issue) on the cre ative challenge very interesting. We are a small graphic design firm located in sunny Seattle. Our client, Radiant Research has welcomed the creative process, allowing us to develop effective marketing tools that have set them apart from their competition. It’s refreshing to work with a company that understands the importance of good creative, outofthebox communi cation materials. John Zimmerman PRINCIPAL Z GROUP DESIGN Until healthcare companies spend the resources to create, then reward advertising connoisseurs, and until ad agencies find some creative leaders that know their way around a positioning statement and marketing plan — we’re doomed to keep repeating the script so painfully chronicled in your article. — Matthew R. Seymour DML CONSULTING THE CHALLENGES OF PRACTICING PHYSICIANS Today’s practicing clinician faces many challenges. Time constraints, prescription formularies, referral processes, multiple expectations of thirdparty payers, increasing reliance on computer technology, and managedcare guidelines are just a few of the issues faced by physicians today as intrinsic elements of patient care. Physicians are working longer hours with continuously shrinking reimbursements, escalating paper work and charting, authorization requests, appeals and checking drug formula ries before prescribing medications. Physicians also face the chal lenge of high overhead, lack of available office space, finding and keeping and being able to compensate good employees. Above all, time is a major constraint — paradoxically, the availability of physicians is decreasing, while patients’ expectations have increased. PharmaVOICE wants to know how physicians can better marry quality care with costconscious, evidencebased decision making. Can management techniques and information technology improve the clinical practice? WHAT’SYOUR OPINION? Please email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. What’s Your Opinion? LETTERS The Need for “Vintage” Advertising