Thursday, October 20, 2011

Long ago and far away.

Rich Siegel has a great post today on one of his ads getting a laugh out of Steve Jobs. It got me thinking about a moment early on in my career that meant a lot to me.

I was working at a storied agency called Ally & Gargano, which many people believe was the best American advertising agency ever. Not only did they probably win more awards per dollar of revenue than any other agency (including DDB) they helped build such major brands as Federal Express, MCI, Dunkin' Donuts and Saab.

A walk along the hallways was like taking a walk through a One Show annual. Every nameplate was, to me at the time, someone of incredible talent and accomplishment.

Of course, Amil Gargano, the man in the corner office was the most revered talent of all. It seemed to me that even creatives of unimpeachable talent were intimidated by his bearing, intelligence, austerity and judgment.

I had written a 60-second radio commercial for The Bank of New York that my boss absolutely loved. The client killed it. My boss wanted to get the commercial sold...a radio commercial. And he went to Amil for his help.

Amil read my spot and said he'd call the client. I sat with him as he did. He simply and forcefully made the case for the spot. The client asked for one change--not to soften the spot, but to make it clearer. Amil told me to make the change.

I retyped my script on yellow copy paper which we faxed down to the client. The spot was bought and I recorded it a couple weeks later.

BTW, here is Amil's page from the Art Directors' Club, from when he was elected into its Hall of Fame.


Rich Siegel said...

Thanks for the link ink, George.

dave trott said...

What resonates in my head is something from Amil's book.
If I remember correctly, he and Carl Ally had a rapprochment shortly before Carl died.
Amil asked Carl how he thought it had all turned out.
Carl said something like "Well, we got more than we thought we'd get, but less than we deserved."
I imagine all great men must feel similar.