Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's, 1991.

On New Year's Eve, 1991, I was trapped in my office at a midtown high-rise. I was staying all night, or planning to. The agency was pitching the $200 million global account of Poughkeepsie Woolens, and I was leading the pitch. The pitch was January 6th--less than a week away. December had come and gone and we were nowhere.

It was just a few minutes before midnight and I was still at my IBM Selectric. Suddenly a man appeared in the doorway of my office. It was David Ogilvy himself, red suspenders and all.

"M'boy," (he always called me 'm'boy,' a term of endearment.) "What are you doing here on New Year's Eve, m'boy."

"Working on the Poughkeepsie Woolens pitch, sir."

"Well, m'boy. You know that unless your advertising is built on a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night."


"You know, m'boy, the consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife."

I nodded.

"Well then, m'boy, let's see what you have." He walked to my typewriter and looked at the taglines I was writing. I had compiled a list of about forty.

"That's it, m'boy! That's the line!" And then he read it: "Poughkeepsie Woolens. We don't make woolens, we make the things that make the woolens."

"Y y you like it, Sir?"

"Like it? I love it! I'd pursue that line like a pig pursues truffles!"

With that he tossed me my coat, put on his and we celebrated New Year's in Time's Square together.

I miss the old man.

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