A turnaround in advertising just doesn't ad up for Interpublic (NYSE:IPG). Yesterday, the company posted a charge-peppered quarterly loss on flat revenues, and that's the good news. The bad news is that the $1.5 billion top line was inflated by acquisitions and favorable currency exchange rates.

Interpublic is now down to withdrawing its prior projections for the year, which had the company earning between $0.68 and $0.72 a share. In the wake of accounting irregularities, layoffs, and executive shuffles, Interpublic may indeed be beginning to recognize the challenge of shaking a tarnished reputation.

No, Interpublic isn't permanently damaged. However, it might be more than coincidental that as management was raked publicly for fiscal improprieties that ultimately led to a restatement of earnings, the firm lost some choice accounts, including Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Burger King. If there's a connection, presumably nobody senses it more than Interpublic: Advertisers are all about image.

One thing that Interpublic can't blame is the sector. Last month, rival Omnicom (NYSE:OMC) posted a 12% uptick in global revenue. And while Omnicom anticipates the ad-spike promise of the Olympics and the Presidential elections in 2004, Interpublic warns of even more layoffs to come.

Can you imagine Interpublic hiring Omnicom to offer up some favorable spin? Didn't think so.

What do you think of ads these days? Are they funnier? Are they more informative? Bottom line: Are they more memorable and therefore effective? All this and more -- in the Television Banter discussion board . Only on Fool.com.