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Noses out of joint

June 09, 2007

Re "Smells like mean spirit," Opinion, June 2

This may come as a surprise for Erin Aubry Kaplan, but the general purpose of a marketing strategy is to target and tailor a campaign to a specific age group, gender, socioeconomic background and, yes, even race. All-inclusive approaches to advertising often prove to be ineffective, and United Colors of Benetton's relative success with its advertising is the exception, not the rule. While Banana Republic's Alabaster campaign makes Kaplan feel marginalized as an African American woman, companies like Sean John, Rocawear, Baby Phat and Ecko (to name a few) make me feel equally marginalized as a white woman. The difference is that I can appreciate such companies for being creative enough to develop successful marketing strategies rather than waste my time feeling excluded.

JENNIFER LOREN

Agoura Hills

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Once again, anyone not considered of color is "white." As an American of Sicilian descent (dark hair, dark eyes, olive-skinned), I would not qualify as the target demographic for any perfume called Alabaster. Kaplan acknowledges perfumes targeted for darker-skinned women, but she would deprive the minority of white women who are pale. Smells more like reverse discrimination to me.

SHAYNE HOOD

Santa Clarita

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