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Advertising Luminary Sees New Day for Industry : Prediction: Cochrane Crane says big budgets, fancy-image ads are dead. Retired agency owner sees future of micro marketing tailored to individual.


COSTA MESA — Effective advertising in the future is going to mean attention to detail: toll-free numbers for customers, how-to manuals that really explain the product, pitches tailored to individual interests.

Micro-micro marketing is the future, says Cochrane Chase, whose name has long been synonymous with the Orange County advertising industry. The days of big budgets and fancy-image ads "ain't coming back," Chase told about 50 advertising professionals Wednesday night at a meeting of the Southern California chapter of the Business and Professional Advertising Assn.

Chase left the local ad scene almost five years ago and went to live on his boat. In 1984, he and partner Lynn Livingston had sold their firm, which over the years had spawned 15 or 20 Orange County ad agencies, to the world's largest agency: Saatchi & Saatchi.

Since retiring, Chase said, "I've had that most precious commodity for once in my life: time to think."

A recent trend that Chase said he finds frightening is that clients are turning to Hollywood, rather than ad agencies, for creative commercials. He cited as an example Coca-Cola Co., which teamed singer-dancer Paula Abdul with clips of Fred Astaire to sell Diet Coke.

Clients have become their own general contractors, in fact, Chase said, selecting which services to buy from each supplier: "They want to make their own choices because they recognize that agencies have been slow to make the change from mass (marketing) to micro."

Agencies themselves are going to move in the direction of contracting for services as needed, Chase said, using more free-lance workers and hiring smaller staffs. He said an acquaintance runs a public relations company from New York City using writers in Boston, Detroit and Chicago.

"They do it all by fax," he said. "There's no overhead."

He advised marketing professionals to become more sophisticated about technology. "We question why some companies fail," Chase said. "They deserve their fate. They're dumb."

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