Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising


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That evening, as the clubs president, I proudly introduced him. Proud to know he had made creative ad history, and to know we were friends. Standing side to side, I said: Roy, Ive collected index cards with questions in a complete random order. Ive shuffled them up and heres the first How much do you make a year?

William Bernbach

Roy stared slowly over at me, and replied even more slowly: More than youll ever make in 3 lifetimes. Because of Roy, the entire meeting-agenda was a huge success. In closing, as a fledging new club, we didnt have anything fancy for him as our parting gesture. Instead, I unveiled a surprise. The original Volkswagen TV boards for Funeral.

Everything was still intact with his original drawings and John Nobles typed copy on the white stickers. I was returning a historic piece to a rightful owner. For once, Roy was speechless. Stunned and pleased. He asked how I happened to have it for over 10 years. I said: Roy, youll never know in 3 lifetimes. God loved the concept: It's I'm a newly hired, very tired, over-worked assistant; assisting two brilliant young art Directors who keep me hopping. But I'm also in the Army Reserves. Viet Nam is spiraling out of control and my reserve unit may soon be in harm's way.

Ironically, I come into possession of a very provocative 18X24 size anti-war poster in the form of a petition; with a big, bold, two word headline that said it all: FUCK WAR! The "body copy" as such would be a laundry list of anti-war signatures. Once it was filled with signatures, the petition would be sent to the White House. Fired up, I signed up, hoping to see every space filled before I left for my annual two weeks of active duty. But as I left for summer camp, my signature was still the only one on the petition. On my return, I was surprised to find my roommate unusually energized and pointing to the petition that was now crammed full of signatures.

However, the real shocker was the signature right under mine; which belonged to none other than Bill Bernbach! A Divine Intervention? Well, when an entity that powerful causes 98 more signatures to miraculously appear. Now it was perfectly clear Doyle Dane Bernbach was where I had to be! It had me 15 years. A young man sitting across the room, perhaps looking to score some points, offered that classic line that every art director waits to hear, Can you make the logo bigger?

Bill smiled at him and whispered warmly, Charles, I guarantee the logo will look bigger when you sit closer. Jack Dillon When my boss, Jack Dillon, passed away, there was a memorial service for him at a church someplace in the wilds of Connecticut. Convinced that, with my sense of direction, I would become hopelessly lost in the suburbs, I left really early and, when I pulled up to the church, there was only one car waiting in the parking lot. I saw that it was Helmut, who waved me over. I got in the passenger seat and said: "How're you doing, Helmut?

Remembering one of the greats -- Ron Rosenfeld As I look back, I can recall a multitude of events and one on-going debate with Ron.

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A debate that spanned most of the 30 years we worked together at DDB and later in our own business. It began in when Ron and I introduced Sony to the American marketplace with a humorous campaign. One of those ads showed a picture of a chubby Mr.

argo-karaganda.kz/scripts/nijovil/3615.php Everyman, sitting on a wooden kitchen chair, joyously smoking his stogie and on his knee was, what was then, the smallest television set you had ever seen in your life. Now, since I was the art director, it was also my job to set the type. That's probably the only reason I got my way and Ron would never let me hear the end of it. It went back and forth, and then we would laugh. In retrospect I wish with all my heart, we could have settled all of our differences in such a kindly manner.

There is one more memory that I would like to share with you because it means so much to me. I remember when we opened for business in a two room suite in the Warwick Hotel. Due to our rapid growth in the first six months, space became a rare commodity. As we brought in new employees, our own workspace kept getting smaller and smaller as Ron and I were being pushed further and further into the corner. To make matters worse, the hotel refused to take out their furniture while we added drawing tables and desks and typewriters and a copy machine for our newly arrived people. We were forced to store the hotel's furniture from the first room in the second room of the suite.

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That left Ron and me no choice but to put two chairs, facing each other, into the bathtub. It was there -- in the bathtub -- with our knees inches apart -- looking into each others eyes -- that we turned out some damn good advertising. Goodbye Mr. Bernbach I'm pleased you went to the trouble to ask me for a DDB story. The only one I can't forget is not pleasant and remains with me to this day. During those years of watching many different television directors shoot our work I became very interested in their craft and had thoughts of maybe trying it for myself.

After deciding I would give it a shot, I went to Bill Bernbachs office to say goodbye. Before I had a chance to say anything he said "I heard you were leaving" and slammed his door inches from my face. I was really stunned for more than a few seconds. After that I proceeded to Bob Gage's office to also say goodbye.

Bob could not have been more encouraging to me and said "If this doesn't work out for you please let me be the first one you call and we'll get you back here". I guess this turns out to be more of a Bob Gage story for me, but I always think of him as one of the great gentlemen of the advertising industry. Just after DDB was awarded the Mobil account, and I, along with Bob Levenson were assigned to it, the agency was invited to attend its first orientation meeting in Mobil's executive boardroom.

The purpose was for Bill Bernbach and his team to be brought up to date on Mobils new corporate identity program, with its main focus on promoting their th anniversary. One of their executives took us through a slide presentation of their new logo design of M-O-B-I-L with a big red O that represented a wheel and meant to them, I guess America on the Move!. We were told how it will change the face of every Mobil gas station in the world, and will play a major part in a new communications program that we were hired to create. After applauding themselves, they then showed us their most important slide of all their big idea to commemorate Mobils th anniversary.

They put right, smack in the middle of their big red O. Again there was another huge round of applause from all the Mobil brass in the room.

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Instantly, Mobil's Director of Marketing, who obviously wanted to share in the glory, jumped in and expounded with great pride Wow! Isn't that great? Isn't that wonderful? You know what that does for us? You know what that means? At which point, Bill Bernbach took the wind right out of the poor fellow's enthusiasm, as he jumped in and simply stated, That means you just died. End of story.

Those dates never saw the light of day in the middle of the big red O.


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That's what Bill Bernbach was all about. He gave me an admonition. I quote from memory. If you leave you may regret it. There are wolves out there! So I went ahead and left. In job after job, my boss always bore an uncanny resemblence to Lon Chaney Jr. Evan Remembers Helmut My first Helmut-meet came one evening when I think it was Nat Russo and I were tossing a small football to each other in the hallway outside the rest rooms. At some point, Helmut came out of his office to use the men's room.

He grunted and put up his hands in the air as if to receive the ball, so Nat threw the ball to him.


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Helmut caught it, then tossed it back to Nat and went into the Men's Room. That was the most Helmut said in my presence in about my first three years at the agency. Do you see anything you like? I was the guest of a friend who said this would be a night to remember.

Gene Case was the instructor and the class assignment was to create a print campaign for an imaginary product guaranteed to restore hair to balding men in 99 out of cases.


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At the end of the student presentations, Helmut was introduced to the class. The first words out of his mouth were to exclaim that the whole assignment was ridiculous. If such a product existed, he said, you wouldnt have to advertise it. It would have sold out the minute it was introduced.

In spite of that, Helmut had thought about the assignment in a cab on the way down to the class. Lets assume that the product does exist, he went on. You could charge anything you want for a product like this. Now the assignment said that 99 out of men would have their hair restored.

Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising
Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising
Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising
Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising
Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising
Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising
Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising Nobodys Perfect: Bill Bernbach and the Golden Age of Advertising

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