Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Steve Hayden.

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.

I did.

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.

Thirty years.

I was never as good as I was when I worked for Steve.


Anonymous said...

To even mention Jeroen Boers in the same story as Steve Hayden is freaking shameful.

Anthony Kalamut said...

George... his work for Apple was amazing but I truly admire an ad he wrote for KFAC a classical music station that I (still) use as a near "perfect" piece of long copy with my students. Storytelling at its best.

He is featured in a book I just tweeted to your attention from D&AD titled "The Copy Book". This will guarantee his legacy among the best.

I his feature, what caught my eye (and heart) is a piece of his advice:

"[So] make sure you give at least ten percent of your earnings to worthy causes. Give your own time in love and service to others. Learn compassion and beware of the ego sickness that devastates so many in our trade."