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August 25, 2010

My motto

I have a Latin motto by which I live my life: "nullae bracae ante meridiem."

It translates loosely as "no pants before noon." In other words, there is nothing that gets accomplished before 12 noon that couldn't just as easily be done AFTER 12 noon.

This factoid erupts because I (in upstate NY) and our former CFO (Pete deVaux), who lives on Vancouver Island, were exchanging emails at (what for him) was about 5 in the morning. When questioned about this bizarre behavior, he replied ...

I've always had weird sleep habits. I get up between 4-5 which is why it was no accident that I was (virtually) the first one in the LA office which, of course, meant that I made the coffee."

I reported to Pete. He always thought I showed up on time in the morning because I had respect for my job and didn't want to get fired. In fact, it was simply the lure of coffee.

August 24, 2010

Chiat/Day pitches Honda

This weekend's episode of "Mad Men" reminded me of a legendary story from the early years of Chiat/Day. I opened up my copy of "Chiat/Day: The First 25 Years" and found this ....

(Click TWICE on image to enlarge it.)

And then, years later, disaster. We lost the account. But rather than just accept defeat quietly, Jay and Guy decided to be bold and gutsy. Guy wrote one of the guttiest ads in C/D history and ran it in industry trade papers. It probably saved the agency.


(Click TWICE on image to enlarge it.)

August 23, 2010

How to Werk

Scott Lukas, as I recall, worked as a planner on the NYNEX account in the New York office. He's since founded his own consulting company, Dosage, which offers Facilitation, Brand strategy, communications consulting, Process Engineering, Strategic Toolkit Design and Strategic Talent Development!

He sent me a link to Dosage's current repository of thoughts on how to build truly collaborative teams. (My favorite tip: "make sure the entire team gets drunk together.'

August 20, 2010

A creative airline safety video

From Air New Zealand:

August 17, 2010

What's in a slash?

I just noticed a posting on Agency Spy that referred to the current incarnation of the company as "Chiat/LA" or "Chiat."

I posted a comment (which got zapped by the editors) that the company is now called "TBWA\Chiat\Day," thank you very much. I mean, if they want to refer to the company, they should really just short-hand-it by saying "TBWA." Comparing the two corporate cultures is like comparing Frank Sinatra with Weird Al Yankovic. (I stretch the metaphor, but you get the point.)

Then, there's the little issue of the "backslash" instead of the "forward" slash. When we were Chiat/Day, we used the forward slash. The new corporate entity uses the "backwards" slash, as in "TBWA\Chiat\Day."

I just spoke to Amy Miyano, the greatest of all Art Studio Heads to ask her if maybe I was confused all these years. Maybe we did use the backwards slash. She said "no," that some new corporate letterhead designer thought the backslash looked better.


Addendum: I received this tidbit from Ken Segall ....

Personally, I've always thought that the use of the backward-slash in TBWA\Chiat\Day is just plain silly. It adds nothing, though it does an excellent job of confusing things for various publications and sites that care to write about the company. I can fill in some of the blanks about the evolution of the slash, since I was in the agency when certain events took place.

Here's what I recall. (If I get any of the facts wrong, maybe someone can correct me.)

Chiat/Day was always just that. Normal forward-slashes. After the merger, it was simply TBWA/Chiat/Day. Still forward-slashes. Sometime near the end of my last stay at Chiat LA (probably 1999-ish), Lee spearheaded a project to re-jig the agency image. A very lavish, oversized hardcover book — encased in a gorgeous shiny red box — was created to represent the agency and its values. I imagine it was used for new business purposes, and to get the offices in different cultures around the world to drink the juice. The book included an agency manifesto written by John Hunt, then creative director in South Africa. (He later headed the NY office for a time, with the title of worldwide CD.) As part of this project, Lee's "worldwide director of art" worked with a design team to resculpt the agency website and take a fresh look at the logo. Out of this effort was born the reverse-slashed version of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

The new site and new graphics debuted at our annual Worldwide Creative Directors Conference held during the Cannes Festival that year. I was in the room when the new design was unveiled, and heard the rationale for why they did what they did. Lee's art director explained to the assembled creative leaders that the slashes had been switched in order to "point forward," because Chiat is so future-oriented. I still kick myself for not speaking up at the time, because I was truly just a whisper away from saying, "Uh ... but those slashes are actually pointing backwards. That's why they're called 'backslashes.'" However, I didn't want to rain on anyone's parade, and by that time I was thinking more about the lavish meal we'd be enjoying immediately after.

The rest is history.



Kenny, Michael Rylander says the pitch book was yellow and is actually sending me a copy!

Steve Alburty

And here it is, courtesy of Michael Rylander, proof positive that TBWA, which wanted to use a "forward slash" to show how future-oriented the company is, is actually using a "backward slash." (Look it up in Wikipedia!) Thank you, Michael!


Oops. Wait a minute. Laurie Coots something to say:

It isn't about modern it was about hierarchy.

Here's our blurb:

The slash is our rallying cry.

The worldwide symbol that brings us together.
Constantly pointing us toward the future.
Challenging us to think not only about “what is”
but also “what could be.”

It connects the most passionate, creative minds in the world,
granting them the independence to believe in their instincts
and trust the magic.

It is a symbol of our prime skill.

Our ability to see and define the possibilities of tomorrow,
and to transform a client’s future through the power of an idea.
It is our diagonal lightning rod for change.

In classical taxonomy when you write the slash this way "/" it usually means that what follows the slash is subordinate or lesser than what came before the slash. A daughter phrase

Whereas, when you use the backslash "\" what follows the slash is equal to, and a peer of the what came on the other side, I understand this is also the rule in computer programming.

We used this explanation to help us get 250 offices to change their agency names so that they lead with TBWA\...

And that's the real fucking story.


August 10, 2010

Apple Creative Team, 1984

(Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

This is the original Apple Creative Team. I look at these photos and I have two reactions: a) they were so young, and b) who in the hell are they? I've checked with people who WORKED on the Apple account and their brains are as warped as mine are. So I'm going to ask you to post a comment and help identify all of them.

If you count each row, left to right, #2 is Lee Clow and #3 is Steve Hayden. #6 is Richard O'Neill.

#6 (we're in the second row now, is Penny Kapousouz. #9 (seated on the stool) is Gary Johnson. #13 is Joe Sosa.

After that, I've going to ask for your help. There are three rows. Add a comment to this posting that begins with a number and then identifies the person.


August 09, 2010

Megan Kent


Megan Kent worked at Chiat/Day as a planner, training under MT Rainey in CA from 1985-87, then again in NY as Mary Maroun's partner in running the NY office from 1987-1989. With Fred Rubin's help in 1998 we won 9 out of 11 new business pitches!!!

This alone might qualify for Megan's entry into the Jay/Day hall of fame, but now she's gone and opened her own company! It's called Brand Synchronicity, which is a fabulous name, but one which Winthrop Paroo would have trouble with. (Please, for God's sake, tell me that somebody gets that reference.)

August 05, 2010

Rodney Pringle

Andrea Sommer continues her search for alums during her visit to New York and look who she found in Central Park: Rodney Pringle!

August 03, 2010

Andrea Sommer

One of this site's most loyal followers has been Andrea Sommer. She's been connecting with many alums, photos forthcoming. In the meantime, here are some shots of the best office C/D NY ever had, as well as the best BAR we ever went to, as well as some photos of her and her son seeking out Sommers on Ellis Island.






Alex Bernstein

What I enjoy most about the history of C/D are those people who worked there for a short time and then went on to establish the careers they were meant for.

An example might be C/D alum Alex Bernstein, who has had a piece published in the literary journal, 22.

Bruce Ascher


I came into New York City last week for a couple of days and was staying with friends on the UWS. So I'm walkin' up Broadway at about 104th St. and I hear my name being called. It turned out to my a former employee of mine, Bruce Ascher!

(Before I was head of MIS, I ran Print Production and Bruce and Peter Franke and John Doepp worked for me.)

Bruce is still in Print Production and is now working for a new start-up ad agency called Republic.

He busted my chops about when I was interviewing for his position and I must have told Peter Franke that Bruce had a "Jew-fro." Sigh. You could say things like in those days and get away with it. I hired him despite his hair and he turned out to be a great addition to the department.

Steve Alburty