Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Soul. On Fire, Not Ice.

Karl Westman, by far the best music guy I ever worked with, was lefted from Ogilvy yesterday. Karl had been doing great work at Ogilvy since Madison Avenue was actually on Madison Avenue.

Over the years I probably worked with Karl on one-hundred spots or maybe more. Maybe the best thing about all that work is how Karl raised the bar when you had a huge budget and could work with Philip Glass, and how he raised the bar when you had an infinitesimal budget and had to work with broken glass.

The thing about Karl was he always came through.

He was always in your corner.

No, he was always not in your corner. Nobody put Karl in a corner. He was always out in front. Pushing you. Coaxing you. Inspiring you by being himself, which was the best there was.

Many many decades ago, a bunch of us IBM creative people got berated for producing a multi-media campaign that, in the end sucked. We were all called together into a conference room by Chris Wall, who stood 6'10" dripping wet. 

It might just be my memory but I recall the seats in the conference room were lower than usual seats. So Chris seemed even taller. I'm 6'2" and not used to being towered over. 

In this instance I felt like a skeevy earth worm.

I remember the words Chris used to berate us. I think about their wisdom almost every day.

"I'm not pissed that the work sucks," he said.

We waited.

"I'm pissed that our level of ambition has started to drop."

That's the thing about Karl.

His level never dropped.

Nor did his ambition.

Ambition. Soul. Taste. Humor. Kindness. Karl.

Why not say "hi" to Karl? He'll be music to your ears. And soul.

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