LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

The attendees at the American Magazine Conference in Phoenix heard that the magazine publishing model "is broken and needs to be repaired" ("Magazines confront flawed business plan," AA, Oct. 28). Leading industry executives spoke out for "less reliance on advertising" and for charging more for subscriptions.

What a pile of bull!

The basic publishing model works extremely well. It remains a simple and efficient idea: Come up with a great editorial concept that stirs the passions, curiosities and needs of a group of readers and they'll buy it (the old "better mousetrap/pathway" theory). After you've earned the readers' attention, you can sell a portion of this attention to advertisers.

If [sales at] the newsstand [are] sinking, there's probably something wrong with the mousetrap! If the newsstand readers are unhappy, then the subscribers more than likely feel the same way. Lowering the subscription price because of the "shakiness of the newsstand" is like saying it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.

Here's a theory/formula/model the attendees probably didn't hear. Paper prices are at the lowest point in 40 years. Postage rates have increased at the rate of 3% per year for the past 10 years and have actually gone down when adjusted for inflation. The newsstand is the greatest sampling device ever invented; the sample takers actually pay for each sample. Magazines are the most measured of any media. Advertisers will pay three to five times more per impression than TV.

So stop whining. Rejoice, strategize, work hard, keep reader satisfaction your primary concern-and make money!

Kent Brownridge

General Manager

Wenner Media

New York

A reproach for D'Arcy top execs

Re: "D'Arcy leaves a 96-year legacy" (AA, Oct. 21), I have a slightly different viewpoint. I worked at D'Arcy for 10 years (1983-1993) and to read of D'Arcy's demise is to read of a litany of denial.

Denial that D'Arcy was motivated to "enrich the few at the top," while insisting it was still in the advertising business. Denial that it put the interests of senior management ahead of shareholders, clients and employees. And the ultimate denial: that D'Arcy has been for sale at the right price since the late 1980s, while at the same time insisting it had a viable long-term future.

So when the Procter & Gamble executive [quoted in the story] suggests the agency was "resource constrained," that was probably true. But I would suggest a much more accurate assessment is that the agency was leadership constrained, ethically constrained and vision constrained. So it's no wonder it couldn't compete and survive. The only wonder [is] how it sold for the reported numbers it did.

Andy Bielanski

Managing Director

Marketing/PR

Countrywide Credit Industries

Malibu, Calif.

Burnett fan calls sale unfortunate

Re: Norman Muse's response to the Leo Burnett/Bcom3 Group sale ("Nothing inevitable about Bcom3 sale," Letters to the Editor, AA, Oct. 7).

I want to second Norman's scathing response to the sale of the Leo Burnett agency. Norman and I worked together at KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, during the summer of 1959. We talked together often of our respect and admiration for Leo Burnett, both the agency and the man.

Later, Norman went to work for Leo Burnett Co. and I started my own ad agency in Salt Lake City. Being like the Burnett agency became my agency's goal. Leo Burnett was my idol.

The sale probably was a financial bonanza to the Bcom3 owners of late. It is unfortunate that Leo Burnett's proud agency was sold whatever the reason.

Just Hallen

E.S. Hallen Co.

Westlake Village, Calif.

U.S. anti-drug ads pick wrong culprit

Re: "Ads linking drugs, terrorism return" (AA, Sept. 16) [about new White House Office of National Drug Control Policy anti-drug advertising]. It seems to me that terrorism has a bit more to do with our dependence on sport utility vehicles than on marijuana.

However, after the nation sees all of our tax dollars so hard at work, I can't help but think we'll all be sitting around wondering what they were smoking when they came up with this strategy.

C.R. Jeffries

CEO

PHB

San Francisco

Right about Saturn, wrong about Ferrari

Bob Garfield was spot-on regarding the efficacy of the [new] Saturn ad ("Aiming for a wider audience, Saturn ads make a right turn," Ad Review, AA, Aug. 19).

But he was off the mark with his point No. 2. There isn't a Ferrari Testorosa, either; but the "prancing horse" has created many beautiful cars with the name Testarossa ("red head").

Michael P. Dewart

Mattel

El Segundo, Calif.

Corrections

* In "Tequila to fold in Martin-Williams" (Oct. 28, P. 10), the headline incorrectly implied that Martin-Williams, Minneapolis, an Omni- com Group unit, will be folded into Omnicom's Tequila direct, interactive and promotions agency network. Martin-Williams has licensed the Tequila brand from Omnicom's TBWA Worldwide and is renaming its 40-member I-Group direct and interactive unit as Tequila, Minneapolis. Tequila is part of TBWA Worldwide and headquartered in New York. The story wrongly said Tequila is part of TBWA Worldwide's TBWA/Chiat/Day.

* In "Capital One sports mascot promotion" (Oct. 14, P. 6), the media agency for Capital One was wrongly given as Starcom MediaVest. It is MediaVest U.S.A., New York, a unit of MediaVest Worldwide, part of Publicis Groupe-owned Starcom MediaVest Group.

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