Over the years, renown advertising people such as David Oglivy, Howard Gossage, Fairfax Cone, Bill Bernbach and Jerry Della Famina have written wonderfully informative and sometimes funny books about award-winning advertising campaigns, great marketing strategies, even books on how to create the ideas themselves.
But for all the great campaigns, strategies and ideas, what really made advertising come to life, made it work and made the public buy the products were the people in the trenches who created it: the copywriters, art directors, producers, directors and yes, occasionally, even the account person.
I never looked at it as a job because every day I spent in the business was fun and so were the people I worked with and met over the years. In fact, I could never fathom the idea that we got paid for what we did.
So I put together some stories about these people, the fun and crazy things they did, the personalities, eccentricities, just plain weirdness and yes, massive egos, which fostered an atmosphere of creativity and a feeding frenzy of ideas that in the end translated into some great advertising.
Since the time I was active in the business into the late 1990s, it has changed a lot. Maybe people started to take it too seriously. After retiring, advertising icon Hal Riney said in a 2007 Adweek interview that advertising in general had lost its sense of fun, originality and the human element. Jacque Smith, one of my art director partners, summed it up nicely: “What we do for a living, ain’t going to cure cancer.”
If I misspell a name or two, forgive me. Some of these stories go back a lot of years. My intention is not to slight or put anyone in a negative light. I’m simply trying to relate incidents and stories as I remember them.
And finally, I would like to say a word about this blog’s URL. My good friend and fellow copywriter Don Hadley, who passed on in 2007, once had business cards printed that simply read: “Mr. Don, Copy Stylist.” So I thought I would use “copystylist.com” as a tribute to Don because I told him a lot of these stories over the years and I know he would have enjoyed reading them.