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This month in 1971, the "slow pay" problem appears to be on the rise in the advertising business and so are efforts by ad agencies to combat it.

The exec VP of a major ad agency told Advertising Age, "Slow pay is a way of life. It's the way of doing business today. Everyone -- clients, agency, media -- tries to maximize the cash flow and this practice is flourishing today. Certain clients miss discount dates and want the discount; agencies give it."

If that sounds tough, how about this, from a man who is a highly regarded pro in media buying: "I'd say, conservatively speaking, there are at least 20 agencies ranging in size from small to fairly large who are bankrupt except for the cash flow of client payments, which they delay forwarding to media. They're living off slow pay."

From one adman comes word that some advertisers are sending agencies special forms along with their checks for media. The form notes the check is for such-and-such an order and if not paid to the medium by such-and such, the advertiser is absolved of liability.

If agencies get involved in the "money market game" it might because the media are sloppy about regulating their customers, suggested William Marsteller, chairman of Marsteller Inc. "People in media say this is going on all the time -

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