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Harry Paster's legacy

There have to be thousands of ad agency executives out there who, at times during their careers, found themselves spending more quality time with Harry Paster than with their families. They can say that he was key to building their agencies as well as their family estates for said dependents.

Harry Paster, who died on Sept. 26, was more than a master of numbers. The secret of his success was his unique insights into human strengths and failings as they related to the world of business. During his 50-year career with the American Association of Advertising Agencies, he became an essential asset for members. Stressed-out agency managers learned those magic words, "Call Harry. He'll know." Harry was advertising's 911 call.

If he ever bothered putting a resume together for himself, he would have noted he joined the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 1948 as a statistician and was named exec VP in 1990. Harry Paster handled the nitty-gritty stuff: costs, profits, benefit plans, compensation arrangements, contracts, agency succession, buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, even estate planning and, yes, divorce settlements and pre-nups. What his resume wouldn't include would be his other titles: father confessor, rabbi, financial guru, management consultant, problem-solver, matchmaker, marriage/merger counsellor, hand-holder extraordinaire.

Not long ago, an agency exec presented Harry with a plaque on which was inscribed, "Saint Harry Paster. Patron-saint of well-managed advertising agencies." That said it all about this unsung advertising industry giant.

Fred Danzig

Eastchester, N.Y.

Mr. Danzig was editor of Ad Age from 1984 to 1994.

Credit for `O upfront'

In regards to the profile of Alyce Alston in "Media Mavens" (Special Report, AA, Sept. 18), I would like to make the following correction so that credit is given where it is truly due: Ms. Alston, who was with the magazine for the first two issues as publisher, and is no longer a Hearst employee, is not the creator of "Oprah upfront," as she claims. The idea was literally generated in our Los Angeles office by group advertising director Lois Miller. It was developed under Ms. Alston's tenure as publisher but with incredible input from staff on both coasts.

Debra Shriver


Hearst Corp.

New York

Ms. Alston responds: "For the 12 months I was publisher of O, The Oprah Magazine, I thoroughly enjoyed leading one of the most successful launches ever, instituting the Oprah upfront, selling it internally to Hearst management and to advertisers. I'm proud to have led the entire sales staff and marketing team and nurtured all the ideas and talent there. My experience with the Oprah magazine will always be a highlight of my career."

Y&R and Steve Frankfurt

If memory serves, Randall Rothenberg was always a pretty easy guy to "turn" to give a story someone's desired emphasis. I'm referring to the piece he did on Young & Rubicam ("Y&R carries proud past to WPP but is Steve Frankfurt missing?", Viewpoint, AA, Sept. 4).

First, let me establish the fact that I believe I'm a friend of Steve Frankfurt, appreciate him and what he did here. As to his lack of appearance in the Advertising Age 75th anniversary issue on Y&R, I can give you personal testimony. During at least two of the interviews Ad Age reporters and editors had with me, I mentioned Steve both times. The first time in some length on Steve and the second time at perhaps excessive length, on naming the people Steve brought into this business as director/producers. . . . The fact that Ad Age editors and writers didn't choose to include all this is their business, but please don't blame us.

I am a bit amused by some of these "The night the old nostalgia burned down" stories. It is true that for a few years during Steve's time it was exciting and fun. But the last year was not. It was very difficult. We lost account after account after account. Each time the reason given was a variant of the phrase "creative arrogance."

I take nothing away from the exciting times Steve brought here and his contribution to the industry, but the reason he was not in the Ad Age issue had more to do with Ad Age than Y&R. And while Steve's contributions were certainly important not just for Y&R but for the industry, by no means can you give him equal status in the creative pantheon with Rubicam, Bernbach and Ogilvy as Rothenberg's piece seems to imply, as I am sure Steve would agree.

Mark Stroock


Young & Rubicam, New York


* In "Burnett's new leaders: Wolf, Brennan boosted" (Oct. 2, P. 3), Brad Brinegar was named CEO, Leo Burnett USA, not president, succeeding Burnett USA CEO Linda Wolf, now chairman-CEO Burnett Worldwide. At Burnett USA, Cheryl Ber-man continues as chairman-chief creative officer and Mary Bishop continues as president-chief marketing officer. At Burnett Worldwide, Michael Conrad continues as vice chairman-chief creative officer.

* In "Economic gold rush spurs rash of jewelry ad efforts" (Sept. 25, P. 16), the World Gold Council ad campaign was created by Teller, New York, with assistance from De Plano Group, New York.

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