Negative Message Assignment
(Assignment case from Bovee and Thill)
Create a letter, include a formal letter heading (return address, date, delivery address, salutation)
and signature close with case details noted below.
Respond to a message you received from your client, Fleet wood. Review the case background
and details below to help you create your message. The focus for this message is for you to
respond to your client’s request while using the indirect approach.
You can make-up any relevant or reasonable background or contextual information (once
you’ve used all other case data provided) in the opening, evidence to support your main
idea in the body or action/deadline information in the close.
You are an account manager at a company that purchases media ads for clients. Your job
requires you to purchase ad time months in advance, in order to gain a price advantage in the
local market for your clients. One of your major clients is Fleet-wood Sport, a regional chain
company that sells a wide variety of sporting goods. Fleet-wood’s products include team sports
equipment, camping and fishing gear, golf and tennis equipment, and active apparel.
In December, you bought advance local ad spots scheduled for May and June on a popular radio
station. When you bought the ads, the radio station told you that the time slot for those ads would
feature a new radio host who would be starting early in the new year. You had your doubts about
the new host, who had been known as “controversial” in his previous job in another city, but the
client (Fleet wood) insisted that the host was “terrific” and would likely get higher ratings. After
much thought, you bought the ads. The initial agreed upon plan was to use the radio ad time slot
to launch a new spring campaign for Fleet-wood’s outdoor equipment collection geared towards a
younger audience that would include high-tech camping, biking, and rock climbing gear.
Now it is April, and the client (Fleet-wood) is eager to hear about the ratings of the new radio host.
You have just seen the latest ratings and are distressed to find that in almost every category the
audiences for your ad’s time slot are well below your expectations. The exception is with the over-
50 demographic, where ratings are significantly higher than you expected. Your ads have not
aired yet, but you know that Fleet-wood is expecting better overall ratings than those earned in
April by this time slot.
You want to respond to your client’s main idea request for an update on the host’s show ratings.
You will also want to prioritize your message focus on obtaining your client’s approval to change
the ad campaign focus given the audience that the host is attracting. You should include updated
campaign suggestions that appeal to a 50+ audience.
In this case the ad spot is already paid for and will only be effective if you tailor to the older
audience tuning in. The priority for this message is that you remind your client about all of the
background information and the role they played in making earlier decisions. Additionally, you will
need to make specific suggestions to your client as to how and what the new ad should focus on
to appeal to the 50+ audience that is tuning in. You can also add suggestions you might have to
still appeal to the younger audience, which will likely be completely separate from the ad you
need to now change. However, any reference to appealing to the younger audience should be
secondary to the priority of your client having to change the ad focus.
Keep in Mind
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