REDESIGN-PRO AND CON;SPORTS, MARKETING MIX?; GATES IS A COPYCAT;DEFENDING FREE LANCERS;COMPENSATION;CORRECTIONS

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The redesign is a huge success. It's clean and serious without being somber. I'm sure you'll be pulling it here and tweaking it there over the next few weeks, but rest assured the bones are there. Congratulations.

Graydon Carter

Editor in Chief

Vanity Fair

Congratulations on your new look, Ad Age. It both looks and reads extremely well.

Sarah Hazell

Ammirati & Puris/Lintas

London

I just read the Jan. 8 issue of Ad Age that unveiled the redesign. I am completely surprised that this format was chosen and was considered as "reader-oriented." I am a devoted cover to cover reader of Ad Age and I had the hardest time reading this issue. It is not pleasing to the eye and it is difficult to follow. An example of this is on Page 8 where your eye doesn't know where to go when you first see this page. Is it too late to add back some of the color which helped the old design be easier to read?

Also, on the People page, the reader does not know which copy goes with which picture.

Your headline says the redesign "adds visual punch." Unfortunately, to me, it's more like a black eye.

B. Kruger

Chicago

So Ad Age has finally done what most other trade newspapers and magazines have done-redesign to a more contemporary and happenin' look.

That some, maybe many, feel the need to mess with classic elegance will continue to mystify me. I hope your new look works.

Jeffrey W. Rodgers

Microtargeting executive

ADVO

Nice job on the re-design! I look forward to seeing how you roll out the concept over several issues, but you clearly have a much improved product. Very up to date. Nice type selection. Great re-work on the nameplate. The serif type works nicely.

For a quick read, and everybody's looking for that, everything is much more clearly organized. Cleaner. Whiter. (Sounds like laundry, sorry.) The editorial page resembles newspaper editorial pages. I don't know whether it's my old newspaper reporter days coming back, but I like that. Since I like commentary, I could even stand another spread with additional perspectives.

Tom Eppes

Price/McNabb

I don't think I realized how dated the old design was until the new one arrived in my mailbox. A nice job all the way around.

Paul Martin

Falls Church, Va.

Sports Marketing! This is some joke! Rarely should sports and marketing be used together. Doing so gives the impression that sports is being used to sell products or reach some other marketing objective.

The majority of so-called sports marketing pros I have come across don't have a clue about how to use sports as a marketing tool. Many of them don't even have objectives for their projects.

One thing is for sure, you can bet that if these sports marketing experts owned their own business they wouldn't be throwing money at stuff that they couldn't prove was working.

Within companies and agencies, sports marketing has become a great job if you want to fly around the country each weekend and rub elbows with race car drivers and athletes. I've been told by department heads that they don't even want to be able to track results of their projects, because if their company finds out the projects aren't working, they'll be out of a job.

Logo exposure on TV may indeed have some value, but anyone who thinks that 30 seconds of logo exposure is worth as much as 30 seconds of objective-driven advertising is, in a word, stupid. Yet that's how logo exposure is routinely valued and sports marketing investments validated. C'mon.

Sports marketing is a good place to be if you know what you're doing. If you don't know what you're doing, you might as well throw your money on the ground and burn it.

Expect a major shakeout in sports marketing over the next few years as companies demand proof that their projects are working, but sports marketers can't deliver.

Thomas Amshay

RFTS Highspeed MarketingServices

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Your article on Microsoft's Bill Gates new book, "The Road Ahead," says its proceeds will go to charity. It is my understanding the "charity" is a teacher group or groups and schools. Sounds good, except Mr. Gates obviously sees this as a way to unseat Apple's strong presence in the educational community.

Too bad more people don't view Mr. Gates for what he is: A copycat marketer rather than a computer genius.

Gene Edwards

Eldersburg, Md.

I found your Salary Survey interesting, but was taken aback at the rude treatment free lancers received in one of the sidebars. An anonymous "executive at a top San Francisco shop" derided free lancers, saying they have an over-inflated sense of their worth, considering that they were either forced out or asked to leave their last jobs.

What a joke.

Reading through the Salary Survey, I was pleased to see that I make more than the average agency CEO does. Any sense of worth I have comes from my own accomplishments, and from making it on my own as an entrepreneur. I'm sure other free lancers would agree that any "attitude" we have comes from being aggressive, sole proprietors, not boot-licking lackies who work in constant fear of the client, and are too afraid to give their names to reporters.

Gene Koprowski

Owner

The Michelangelo Group

[74203.1677@compuserve.com]

Ad Age's Dec. 11 Salary Survey is certainly interesting and worth pondering. But, like all such general salary surveys, some realities are overlooked (mainly because they're tough/nearly impossible to "measure").

As any savvy agency financial officer knows well, "base salaries" (especially at the levels in your survey) are only a portion of total annual compensation. It's "total compensation" that counts. Examples that must be included in any kind of significant analysis:

Profit sharing plan contributions by agency;

401(k) agency contributions;

Various perqs: leased cars, executive medical plans, low-interest officer loans; club dues; and the like;

Deferred (funded) compensation plans for selected execs;

One of the greatest variables: bonuses, via cash or stock.

Finally, let's get real and coldly analytical about all this "compensation" business: Significant shareholders (mainly creative or contact people) with "control" of major accounts get the Big Bucks.

In total, these highly variable added factors can easily add 20% to 25% to an employee's "base salary" compensation-and to the agency's operating costs.

H. E. McDonald

H.E McDonald Associates

Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

In "J&J readies $20 million Renova intro" (Jan. 8, P. 33), Johnson & Johnson last year admitted to obstructing justice when marketing papers relating Retin-A were destroyed, and settled with the U.S. Department of Justice by paying more than $5 million in fines. It did not plead guilty to charges of marketing the anti-acne cream as an anti-wrinkle cream.

TO POST OR E-MAIL LETTERS

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