LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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The "Salary Survey" Special Report (AA, Dec. 2) again brought home the fact that there is still a tremendous discrepancy in the salary levels between men and women in the advertising industry. This gap exists across the board in every job, in every geographic region, in both large and small agencies.

Although women continue to make strong inroads in many areas of business, it is indeed disappointing to confront the fact that salary equality in the advertising community has not kept up with this progress. It is evident that an enormous amount of work remains to be done to create a level playing field between the genders.

Advertising Women of New York commissioned Mediamark Research to conduct a survey among its members to determine whether they believe there is a salary gap and, if so, whether they were in favor of taking a definite stand on the issue. The women who responded represented every age group, at every level of their careers, earning every level of income. Overwhelmingly, the results showed that, yes, they are aware of the salary inequity (92%), many have personally experienced it (65%) and they strongly agree AWNY should take a leadership role in a movement to correct the situation (75%). Additionally, 90% indicated they would be interested in attending workshops addressing this topic.

AWNY will conduct a series of workshops addressing topics relevant to correcting this major flaw in the compensation scale in our industry. The classes will be held this April. It is our hope that through this effort we will raise acute awareness of this imbalance and help not only our members but women in the industry at large to advance their financial situations. We look forward to a marked improvement in the ratio of salaries in the next Ad Age salary survey and for many years to come. To learn more about the AWNY survey results and its program lineup, visit www.awny.org.

Liz Schroeder

Executive Director

Advertising Women of New York

New York

Praise for `T&L' handling of trip

Regarding "Travel without leisure?"(Adages, AA, Dec. 16), on the Travel & Leisure [magazine] trip to Mexico, I was one of the people in "the van that tumbled" and I was one of the people "treated for minor injuries," and your "spy" is obviously misinformed. Sure, we were delayed because of snow, and it rained when we got there-last time I checked the magazine had no control over such vagaries. And as far as the accident goes, it was just that: an accident. Don't think there's much control to be had there either.

But what Travel & Leisure did have control over was its response to the events. And in all my years traveling I have never seen a potentially difficult situation diffused with more aplomb, grace and real caring than I did on this trip. We had the best care, the best hospitality and, in the end, quite a lot of fun. And I met and bonded with people who I now consider friends. Wish I got that from all my travels. I, for one, had an amazing, incredibly warm experience-and I thank T&L for providing it. As for your spy, if they can't handle the unexpected, I'd suggest sticking to Disneyworld.

Bret Sanford-Chung

New York

Buick's `Harley' ads aren't helping image

Re: "Ghost in the machine: Buick still haunted by bad marketing" (AdReview, AA, Dec. 2). Buick's ad fails for more than the lack of steak to go with the sizzle. The sizzle that's presented appeals to the wrong people and it makes an unfortunate statement about the current product.

Few people outside the auto community have any idea who Harley Earl was. The one consumer segment that might have remembered Earl's work favorably is the very demographic Buick is desperately trying to expand beyond. Worse still is the unintended implication that Earl returned because nobody currently at General Motors knows how to design a great car. Considering GM's level of success in the passenger car market, this may be true. But it's still not something an agency should imply about its client.

Re: Rance Crain's "If Big 3 sell commodity cars, lower prices should follow" (Viewpoint, AA, Dec. 2). The biggest problem facing Detroit is not cost-it's product. There isn't any. Without fresh, desirable vehicles, all that's left to sell is price. Wal-Mart and Amazon.com are not good analogies because they are middlemen. They do not create what they sell; they only create the selling experience. ... Detroit's automakers have neglected the dream. Until they figure that out, they will continue to lose market share to those who understand it.

Bill Cawthon

Wordsmith & Creative Services

Houston

I love the Harley Earl commercials. The special effects and the actor's looks and personality are all great. It's a great change from all the plain and boring commercials out there. It's exciting-like the old GTO commercials of the 1960s used to be. I think it was the lighting and the actor's voice and the way he was dressed that really gave the commercial a flair. It is just how I would picture Harley when he was in his prime.

Kevin Berner

Otsego, Mich.

I've been watching the wretched Harley Earl commercials thinking what fossil at Buick dreamed this up? And what agency let him put it on the air? This campaign is so desperate, so meaningless and so annoying. It's why I never wanted to do auto ads when I worked in Detroit! Thank you for putting into print what I've been yelling at the TV.

Debra Lovio-Samson

Ambler, Pa.

Corrections

* In "American Investor Group drops Ogilvy & Mather" (Late News, Jan. 6, P. 2), the headline incorrectly identified the company. The correct company name is American International Group.

* In "Primedia soap mags slice rate bases for `03" (Dec. 30, P. 4), it was incorrectly stated that Bauer Publishing merged its two Soaps in Depth titles. Both of Bauer's Soaps in Depth titles continue to publish separately.

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