VIEWPOINT: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Leap looks at its year

While we are flattered that Advertising Age found our story important enough to be front page news ("Not Leap's Year," AA, Jan. 26), we would like to clear up a few misconceptions that may have been caused by your article.

It's true Wall Street has treated Leap's stock less than kindly during the past year. As is often the case in the public market, stocks are sometimes valued high and sometimes valued low, and it doesn't always correlate to financial performance. Your article shows a case in point -- at least one other agency whose revenue and profit picture is very similar to Leap is currently trading at a higher price.

However, as client companies know well, a firm's current stock price should not be confused with its capabilities or the quality of its work.

In the past year, Leap Group has been building its infrastructure and capabilities. We also added significant new clients to our roster last year, including American Airlines, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, MSNBC and Rockwell. We are proud of our growing list of premier clients. We are also proud of the work we are doing to help build our clients' brands and, from what they tell us, they are, too.

We think the best way an agency can prosper and create value for its shareholders in the long run is by delivering great work and producing solid business results for its clients. Leap Group and its subsidiaries are committed to doing that every day. And as we do, we are confident our shareholders will be rewarded as well.

Tom Sharbaugh

President, Leap Group

Chicago

Huizenga and baseball

Rance Crain piqued my interest when he asked why Wayne Huizenga is supposed to be such an astute businessman ("What I don't understand: Huizenga, huff over Brinkley," AA, Jan. 19). Of course, it's my job to be piqued, as I'm the director of communications for Huizenga Holdings. The answer to his question may well be because Mr. Huizenga recognized that baseball is broken and that the Marlins did, in fact, lose over $30 million last year.

Mr. Crain calls it "chump change." How many consecutive years of losing $30 million annually would be necessary for a successful entrepreneur to change into a chump?

Unfortunately, under the current scenario the Marlins cannot avoid such financial losses with a highly competitive payroll [such] as they had last season (fifth-high-est in baseball).

Mr. Huizenga announced the Marlins were for sale in late June of last year, months before the playoffs began. So the sale of the Marlins should not come as a surprise following the World Series.

As far as buying a used car from Wayne, I think Mr. Crain's experience at an AutoNation USA would be far more pleasant than the current woes of financing today's professional sports.

Stan Smith

Director of communications

Huizenga Holdings

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Editor's note: In the column, Mr. Crain asked why Mr. Huizenga, while trying to sell the Florida Marlins, would cite $30 million losses and trade top Marlin players, which he compared to trying to sell a division "after getting rid of its best products."

Is there no escape?

Boy, Rance Crain's column "Coming soon to a car near you: Ads on navigational screens" (AA, Jan. 5) was distressing.

I can see it now . . . "We'll give you directions to the nearest public restroom . . . right after these words from Immodium." Or "Motel reservations? Sure thing . . . but first, this message from Trojan Enz." Or "Stranded in a snowdrift on the Interstate? We'll have a tow truck out to you soon . . . but remember, Joe's Towing doesn't accept American Express."

Wasn't it bad enough that we had to have advertising on public benches, over urinals, or blaring at us from fill-it-yourself gas pumps?

Must we put ads on every audio-visual medium available?

Steve Fradkin

President, The Wizard of Adz

Canton, Mass.

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