I've been lucky in my career to have been close to some of the greatest creatives in the business.
I worked for Hall of Famers Ron Rosenfeld and Len Sirowitz. I worked for Amil Gargano and Mike Tesch. And while not Hall of Famers, I had my copy picked over and parsed by Harold Karp and Ed Butler. I worked for too short a time for Kirk Souder. And I partnered with the mercurial and brilliant Jeroen Boers and the simply brilliant and the brilliantly simple Tore Claesson.
But most of all, I got to sit with and talk to and love Steve Hayden.
Steve retired yesterday, after 18 years, from Ogilvy & Mather.
There's not enough I can say about the man.
Most of what he did, it seems to me, is believe in you.
I was new at Ogilvy and in a van with Steve heading out to location early one morning. He got a call on his cell phone from the client. Two hours before the shoot, they killed one of the spots we were supposed to be shooting.
He turned around to me and handed me his IBM Think Pad.
"Write a new spot," he said.
And 30 or 45 minutes later and with great trepidation I handed him his computer back with my script.
"Good. That's great." He laughed at my last line.
He got on the phone and read it to the client.
We shot the spot.
I've been a copywriter since 1982.
I was never as good as I was when I worked for Steve.