« November 2006 | Main | January 2007 »

December 19, 2006

Commercials from the 80s


Giant magazine reviews the greatest commercials of the 80s. The usual suspects are here - from Apple's "1984" to Brooke and her Calvins. But some smaller gems are here, too, including a political commercial from the governor's race in Ohio, in which a young Jerry Springer spins the fact that he once slept with a hooker. His regret? That he paid her by check.


December 11, 2006


Brunette Screaming

Adultitis is a common condition occurring in people between the ages of 21–121, marked by chronic dullness, mild depression, moderate to extremely high stress levels, a general fear of change, and, in some extreme cases, the inability to smile.


In Praise of Chain Stores



December 06, 2006

John Morrison

This seems to be Artistic Alums Week on jayday. First we have Nat Whitten writing a book. Now we have John Morrison, appearing in New York doing standup. You can catch him at the Cornelia Street Cafe on Tuesday, Dec. 12th. Details by clicking on this little poster:

John writes ...

I was an art director at Chiat/LA from 1985 through 1987, I moved out to LA from Minneapolis where I was an AD at Fallon McElligott.

I was hired by Lee to work on Porsche, but I composed my acceptance letter on a Mac, so that was that... I worked on Apple the entire duration of my time there. (When I left Fallon, they raffled off my Mac, the only one in the agency at the time. They thought it a curio.)

After the we lost Apple, I went to Goodby until Steve Hayden talked me back down to BBDO/Slightly Further West to work on Apple again with ex-Chiat writers Ken Segall and Robert Chandler. When the Apple group was merged with BBDO/LA, I headed back east to NY.

After pledging allegiance to an increasing number of dumb and dumber agencies (lifetime total as a staffer: 23), I've been freelancing in NYC days and doing political comedy nights for the last 4 years... my response to 9/11... see pic.

Most nights I'm on stage at either the New York Comedy Club, The Improv or The Laugh Lounge on the Lower East Side. I put on a monthly comedy showcase the second Tuesday of every month at Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village.

My oldest son, Jay, named after I wonder who, is now an art director at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis. My baby Ben is an editor for Periscope in Minneapolis.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. --J

December 05, 2006

Nat Whitten

Nat and his 6-year-old son, Jack.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Nat Whitten, a former copywriter at Chiat/Day NY. I hope you were lucky enough to work in the New York office when Nat was there (’85-’89) because he was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to work with. He had one of those personalities you wished you could figure out how to bottle. Turns out you sort of could, for Nat had a secret to generating that irrepresibly happy personality which he is now able to philanthropically share with the world.

Before I tell you more about that, I asked Nat to fill in a few biographical blanks for those of us whose memories these days sort of work like New York City alternate-side-of-the-street parking:

In answer to your question, I believe I was considered a "senior writer" when I left C/D to start Weiss, Whitten (with fellow alumnus Marty Weiss) in 1989. Worked on Trump Casino Hotel, Gaines Cycle Dog Food, NYNEX Yellow Pages, and Reebok, to name a few. Started as secretary in media department for Bob Zach and fill-in receptionist. I was not very good at either, but Valerie Laskos took pity on me and moved me to creative department, where I hounded Jay for a year to give me a job as a writer. He finally did to shut me up. Also published the "Chiat/Daily", a short-lived underground paper about all-things C/D.

Nat and his co-author, W.R. Morton, have written a book. It's called "Secrets of the Superoptimist: The Classic Guide to Success. In Any Situation."

And now you, too, can own your very own copy, as I now do. (Hint: it would make a lovely holiday gift for yourself or someone you know who needs some "wisdom transmissions.")

I goaded Nat into providing me with his thoughts about working at Chiat/Day ….

I will forever be grateful to Jay Chiat for teaching me the meaning of the term "work ethic", as well as "@$*%# late car service", "where's Adelaide", and "not enough".

In fact, there's rarely a creative project where the V.O.J. (Voice of Jay) doesn't speak to me and prod me to do better. At least, I think it's Jay. I get Jay and God confused a lot.

A recent conversation Jay and I had involved a project outside of the realm of advertising. In addition to being a freelance copywriter and creative director for the past 10 years, I've always nibbled around the edges of other creative endeavors, the latest being a pop culture oddity entitled "Secrets of the SuperOptimist." We sold this book to a mass market publisher who proceeded to redesign it and dumb it down (something that never happens in advertising). Instead of "going with the program" and letting them destroy the soul of the book, I heard Jay say "Don't let them f... it up." So we bought back the rights and have signed on with the ferociously independent Vitally Important to put it out in a smaller, but more honest way.

Should any of my mates be looking for that special holiday gift, I encourage them to visit www.vitallyimportant.com, or one of our distributors --- the fantastic underground SF institution Last Gasp or SPD. And yes, it's available at Amazon.

While some of the secrets might contradict the Sayings of Chairman Jay, I believe he would approve of the effort nonetheless. Sure, he would grouse a bit about the contrarian take on our rampant consumer culture. And point out the time it took could have been better spent creating something truly significant. Like a great ad. But I think he would have supported the anti-authoritarian viewpoint which made working at Chiat such a kick-ass experience.

And don't worry, Jay. I'm not quitting my day job.


SECRET #40: When the Lord is ready to speak to you, have a pen and paper handy.
SECRET #34: While you may make mistakes, you yourself are not one.
SECRET #47: Have interesting answers to questions, even if you have to make them up.
SECRET #69: Whatever you're thinking of charging, add 30%.

feelinggreat.jpg apocalypsenever.jpg

Industrial Music

The album Product Music: Vol 1 is a collection of memorable examples of the industrial song. Because if you're not buying a company's product, perhaps a few listens to their new dance tune will change your mind!

The songs range from mellow dance tunes ("The Frito Twist") to manic dance tunes ("Dance The Slurp", with its frenzied cries of "SLURP SLURP!!!") to haunting ballads (the somewhat disturbing "My Bathroom Is A Private Kind of Place", one of three tunes in the compilation from American Standard's classic industrial musical The Bathrooms Are Coming!).


Look at me


Photos that were either lost, forgotten, or thrown away. (Thank you to my sister, Charlene, for submitting this link!)


December 04, 2006

Lost Alums

Every time I send out a mass mailing, I get a lot of “bounce backs” because of email addresses that no longer work. Here are the latest alums to vanish into the land of the lost. If you know of them, have them send me their current email address:

Marty Wenzell, Ann Lundquist, Jennifer Wilson, Craig Lambert, John Kerr, Gary Nelson, Patrice Tanaka, Ellen LaNicca Albanese, Kris Konno, Bianca DiSalvo, Simon Bax, Phillip Lopez, John Krass, David Murphy, Steve Cohen, Brian Belefant, Jon Spurney, George Logothetis.

Subway ad for funeral home


Ghoulish, but clever placement.