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"You deserve a break today" was a campaign directed by Keith Reinhard when he was creative director at Needham, Harper & Steers. Today, 28 years after those memorable McDonald's Corp. ads, he is chairman-CEO of successor agency, DDB Needham Worldwide.

Mr. Reinhard, who had joined Needham as a junior copywriter, is a reminder everyone must start somewhere, even at such a "lowly" position.

So "Who deserves a break?" Advertising Age asked, albeit indirectly, in compiling salary ranges for a handful of entry-level positions. (See chart).

Employment placement agencies and college placement offices in general say job-hopefuls with solid internship experience stand a better chance at landing the job itself, if not higher pay, especially in media; entry-point for M.B.A.s with solid internship experience can be mid-management at $45,000-$65,000 salary.

A common complaint from these services is that low pay is drying up fresh talent in the creative fields.

Students, particularly men, are being lured by higher pay outside marketing and creative fields. And women, once willing to stick out lower salaries for the sake of creative opportunity, are beginning to eschew that idea.

"This industry [advertising], in particular, needs to be more pro-active at bringing in raw talent at the entry level," says an advertising placement specialist who believes there now is a lack of fresh, capable faces.

A bright spot is that corporate downsizing in the early '90s put a premium on computer literacy. Navigability on the Internet can help just about anyone, but it may mean more than $10,000 in starting pay for assistant copy editors,

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