Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Decades ago during the waning and pathetic demise of the once-great agency Ally & Gargano, the CEO (who knew nothing about advertising) went out and hired a new chief creative officer who was meant to help revitalize the place.

This new CCO was called Tony Fisher and he immediately rubbed me the wrong way by taking a run at the account I was running. In any event, Tony right away acquired a couple of nicknames. I dubbed him Phony Pischer (pischer is Yiddish for prick or small fry) but the nickname that stuck was "One Trick Tony." Needless to say, as a creative, Tony didn't have a lot of range.

I remember all of us were called into a conference room and the CEO introduced Tony by showing his reel. One old-timer summed it up this way, "Don't worry that his reel sucks, none of that work is his anyway."

Our worst fears about Tony all came true. In short order he revealed himself as a sham and Ally & Gargano, the once greatest agency in America, shut its doors after three decades.

I bring this up because phonyism and cronyism is still rampant in our industry.

In fact, if you grow your scruff just right and know how to artfully sprinkle banal adjectives mixed with buzzwords capped off with incomplete sentences together, it's almost a sure thing that you'll rise to the top.

I suppose just about every agency at one time or another is afflicted by Guruitis. People who, in the words of my ex-boss Chris Wall "have a titanic attitude and a minnow in the engine room."

The good agencies eventually catch on and axe these poseurs and pompous putzes.

The bad ones?

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