Magazines: One-Upmanship

The shirtsleeved editor of Holiday Magazine stared pensively from the top of the full-page ad in the New York Times. "An open letter to Ted Patrick from 12 of Holiday's 3,263,000 readers," ran the caption. Underneath was a glowing testimonial to Editor Patrick, 62, and the signatures of Patrick's reader-admirers. The whole thing looked just like what it was: a promotion ad, bought and paid for by Holiday's parent, the Curtis Publishing Co. But that wasn't all it was.

To begin with, Editor Patrick knew nothing about the ad until he saw it in the Times—and his surprise was not altogether...

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