Just Do What Fred Did
Fred in his heyday.
Fred and John Wayne on a shoot
All of you certainly remember Fred Goldberg, who ran Chiat/Day's San Francisco office, as well as founding his own agency. As reported earlier on this site, he has written a book: "The Insanity of Advertising."
Many of you will also remember Robert Chandler a writer and creative group head in the LA office from 1977-1981. He sent me his very own review of Fred's book, to which he places the first finger of each of his hands in an enthusiastically upright position.
JUST DO WHAT FRED DID
To Chiat/Day alum, to anybody in advertising, or who find advertising and marketing intriguing,
I commend to you Fred Goldberg's new memoir on his adventures in the ad trade, THE INSANITY OF ADVERTISING, to be published in January.
Fred and I worked on some of the same accounts and in some of the same places - notably Chiat/Day and Y&R on Apple and Gallo - but never at the same time.
I was always hearing about Fred, sometimes when he'd been at a place before me, sometimes when he'd gone on to a place I'd worked.
Fred, like Jay Chiat who figures large in his memoirs, has been both notable and controversial. And for similar reasons. He has a reputation as being very smart, very tough, and very demanding.
And being and doing so, he always got good results.
Fred inspired both admiration and trepidation, both affection and the opposite. But, that is almost always the arc of an outstanding career, if not absolutely always.
I've read two chapters of his book. The are engaging, straightforward and very readable. In each instance where I've known the subject or the people, I've found Fred's observations to be astute, accurate. And, particularly interesting to hear his perspective on things I knew from my own and others' points of view.
Fred went on to found a very successful agency, Goldberg, Moser & O'Neil of San Francisco.
I'm not necessarily a fan of books on ad biz, even when very good. And, I often have a peculiar aversion to reading about things I know a lot about personally. Perhaps through fear or anticipated annoyance that the writer is going to getting things a little or very wrong.
But, I have enjoyed Fred's chapters, and after having partaken of the hors d'oeuvres, look forward to the entire meal in January.
His promotional website is very good.
And here's the Amazon page.
Submitted by Robert Chandler, Chiat/Day L.A. writer and creative group head,
1977 - 1981
And here are some spicy excerpts from Fred's book:
Jay hired me after a breakfast meeting at the Cheese & Olive in Marina del Rey. The next most memorable thing about that morning I was hired came after we shook hands. He said, “Come with me.” We walked across Ocean Avenue to a place called the Baja Cantina, where about 20 of Jay’s buddies and gal pals had gathered for brunch. It was only 11 a.m. and half of them were already drunk as skunks. The other half were high as kites. I thought to myself, what have I just done?
At the end of 1985, Jay Chiat came up with one of his largest and most grandiose ideas. Why not buy two great creative advertising agencies, Ally & Gargano and Hal Riney, and create a new entity to be known as Ally Chiat Riney? This naming would likely be the only thing that the three companies might amicably agree upon since the names were in alphabetical order, thereby removing some of the political and emotional tension.
In many ways, this combination, Ally Chiat Riney, was a brilliant thought since it would have brought together arguably the three most creative agencies of the time, each a key player in an important advertising market: NewYork, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, respectively.
Not too much thought was given as to how Ally and Chiat and Riney might work together, well or not, but Jay offered that he would “run it.” Uh-huh.
John Sculley (ex–Apple Computer CEO) writes in his book Odyssey that he asked Chiat/Day, “See if there is a way to take advantage of the fact that 1984 was the year that George Orwell chose for his famous prophecy of a totalitarian regime in which Big Brother controls all of man’s actions and thoughts.”
Actually, the Orwellian idea had been bouncing around Chiat/Day well before Sculley even arrived at Apple. I will give him credit, though, for sometimes recognizing a good idea when he heard one, since the idea had been discussed as part of the product launch.
He wanted to see where we were at and upon looking at the very first ad threw a tantrum of disappointment and went on to crap on every single piece of advertising we had lined up around the conference room walls.
“Show me the work.” “This is all shit.” “What have you guys been thinking?” “We’re in trouble.” “This is shit.” All of this was expressed at the top of Jay’s voice in an extremely irritated and condescending manner. Which was par for Jay’s course.
Everyone was sufficiently demotivated and tired, when Lee Clow asked Jay to take a stroll with him, which they did. Lee used that walk to speak persuasively and in his usual calm manner. “OK, asshole, you go present whatever you want.”
We all went to sleep and the next morning drove over to Apple and presented all of the work exactly as it was the night before. Of the 45 ads, 44 were approved for production.
All excerpts (c) by Fred Goldberg and Council Oak Books