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Top Marketers Discuss Advertising's Role in Building their Businesses and Brands
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Interview Guide

Questions for Steve Sanger
Chairman and CEO, General Mills, Inc.
(approx. 16 minutes)

  1. Why use an advertising agency at all? Why not outsource it, coordinate it or use an in-house agency?
  2. One of the ways agencies are being described today are as manufacturers of 30 second commercials. Is it a mistake to expect strategic thinking from an advertising agency?
  3. Do you have any personal experience with an advertising agency that has made a contribution to your business beyond good advertising other than print ads and TV? If you do, what did they do?
  4. Does advertising have a role in the creation or support of these great brands that you have?
  5. If you had to define the single most important thing that an agency can do, what would you say it is?
  6. In the process of creative great advertising, does the agency get involved in strategic discussions and planning with you and your people?
  7. One of the issues is when they should come in. There's a view that they should come in at the end; that the strategy should be developed long before the agency is involved and that the agency should be given the strategy to execute.
  8. Are there any specific examples where the agency made a strategic contribution that helped to build the business?
  9. Can you discuss the issue of intimacy and objectivity with the agency? Is that a useful thing to have in your opinion?
  10. You've used the word relationship a few times. What is the importance of the relationship itself between the agency and advertiser to the end result?
  11. Do agencies have a future in the next millenium?
  12. Given your experience, do you think they can do it?