Hands up who’s heard of Tom McElligott?

1991_main_mcelligott
He should be better known.
He ushered in a new, sassier way of talking.

His work felt like it was written by a very smart lawyer with a wicked sense of humour.
He influenced a generation.
But there’s almost no evidence of his existence on the internet.
In a Stalinesque style purge, Lurzer’s Archive have retouched the Fallon McElligott work to read Fallon. 
Even the publishers of Luke Sullivan’s great book “Hey Whipple” seem not to know him:
Screen shot 2014-02-14 at 15.20.08
I can’t find a lot of information on him out there, so it’s difficult to offer up too much, and I certainly can’t vouch for the chronology of the work below, but I’ll have a first stab and update it if complaints come in. (If anyone does know more, has higher res images or can spot errors please get in touch or leave a comment.)

So here’s what I know:
Minneapolis legend Ron Anderson hired Tom to work with him at Bozell’s.
They did some very good, very Fallon McElligott style work together:
Tom McElligott %22United Way. Bozell
(http://ampersandvertising.com/2013/10/17/we-pulled-an-all-nighter-perhaps-the-only-time-our-wives-didnt-mind/)

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.56.45 Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.58.51 Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.56.17 Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.54.52lhl-symsScreen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.55.55Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.57.16 Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.57.08 Tom McElligott, 'Crowded' - Minnesota.Nancy Rice-01 Tom McElligott, 'Graffiti' - Minnesota.Nancy Rice-01 Tom McElligott, 'Running Water' - Minnesota.Nancy Rice-01Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.57.28Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.58.16 Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 15.58.26

Whilst at Bozell, Tom started taking on freelance projects with the young, Head of Media Research at another Minneapolis agency, Martin/Williams.
They called it Lunch Hour Ltd.
Tom McElligott, Pontillo's - 'Cut It'-01 Tom McElligott, Ki Clayton - 'Material'-01 Tom McElligott, Ki Clayton, 'Material',-01

They got so busy, they took it to the next level, setting up an agency in 1981, along with Art Director Nancy Rice.

This is their first ad.
It ran on August 3, 1981, in the Minneapolis Star and Minneapolis Tribune.

Fallon McElligott, House ad-01
Bob MacDonald spotted it.

Fortunately for the new agency Bob MacDonald was the Marketing Director of ITT Insurance. 
Even more fortunately, Bob couldn’t find an agency who would ‘make the big insurance companies look like shit’.
They were awarded the account and Tom started making the big insurance companies look like shit. Fallon McElligott, ITT 'Fat'-01 Fallon McElligott, ITT 'Waists'-01 Fallon McElligott,ITT 'Cartoon'-01Fallon McElligott, ITT 'Rice'-01
F Mc; 300-01
They start picking up local accounts, very local;  hair salons, lumber yards, no account appears to be too small.
Or another way to look at it, and my guess is it’s nearer the truth; no opportunity to create, however small the budget, was turned away.

4.8621c_l 4.8627d_lFallon McElligott, Vander 'Two Times'-01Fallon McElligott, KSJN 'Brains'-01
Fallon McElligott 'Einstein'-01Fallon McElligott 'Bride Of Frankenstein' -01Fallon McElligott 'Coin'-01
Fallon McElligott '£ Stooges'-01Fallon McElligott, 7th South 'Medussa'-01

Fallon McElligott, 7th South 'Nixon'-01Fallon McElligott, Transtop 'How much'-01Fallon McElligott, 'Stop A Bus'-01
3.8801b_l
3.8801c_lTom McElligott, PR Project 'Why?'-01 Tom McElligott, PR Project 'Money'-01 Tom McElligott, PR Project 'Indicates'-01 Fallon McElligott, Hockey 'USA v USSR'-01Fallon McElligott 'Chiropractor' 1-01 Fallon McElligott,, First Tennessee 'Oils'-01Fallon McElligott, MAX 'Letter'-01 Fallon McElligott, Allnet 'Record'-01Tom McElligott,  'Obscene'-01Tom McElligott, PR Project 'Skeleton'-01 Tom McElligott, PR Project 'Naked'-01 Tom McElligott, PR Project 'Mary'-01Adler3 Adler2 Adler1

Fallon McElligott, Murray's 'Knife'-01Fallon McElligott, Murray's 'Excuse'-01Fallon McElligott, Murray's 'Match books'-01Fallon McElligott, Murray's 'Fixtures'-01Fallon McElligott, Murray's, 'Institution', -01-01Fallon McElligott, Murray's, 'Vietnam'-01Tom McElligott, Murray's 'Juicy', -01F Mc; ll256-01Fallon McElligott, Continental 'Plastic'-01Fallon McElligott, Continental Illinois 'Note'-01Fallon McElligott, MedCentres 'Which 20%' -01Fallon McElligott, First Tennesee-01
Fallon McElligott, Minnesota Hockey 'Defense-01

Fallon McElligott - Country Cottage 'Poo' -01Fallon McElligott 'Icecream' -01Fallon McElligott, AMF 'Handles'-01Fallon McElligott, AMF 'add 2lbs'-01Fallon McElligott, Mr Coffee 'Tea'-01
Fallon McElligott 'Pytka'-01
Fallon McElligott, Dublin 'Lion'-01F Mc; 288-01
Fallon McElligott, Minnesota Zoo 'Monkeys'-01Fallon McElligott,Minnesota Zoo 'Emissions'-01Fallon McElligott, Gym 'Mountains'-01

  Fallon McElligott, Casting 'Huggies'-01 Fallon McElligott, Casting 'Snow'-01Fallon McElligott, Casting 'Weights'-01
Fallon McElligott, Wimbledon It Ain't'-01Fallon McElligott 'Da Moon' -01Fallon McElligott, W32, 'Young Clint'-01Fallon McElligott 'See What The Networks'' -01Fallon McElligott 'Underground'-01
Fallon McElligott, KRON 'Birds'-01Fallon McElligott,W32, 'Grant'-01Fallon McElligott, W32 'Cut'-01Fallon McElligott,W32 'Plot'-01Fallon McElligott,W32 'Train Robbery'-01

Fallon McElligott, %22Jane Fonda%22-01 Fallon McElligott, W32 'Hitchcock Cast'-01Fallon McElligott, W33, 'Dallas'-01 Fallon McElligott, W32, 'Assembled'-01 Fallon McElligott, W32, 'Woody Allen'-01 Fallon McElligott, W32, 'Jet'-01Fallon McElligott 'White Sox'-01 WFLD3
Fallon McElligott, Starkey 'More than'-01
The first time I saw the name Fallon McElligott was underneath these ads, in The One Show.

They’d be bold for a beer, but for a religion?
Also, who knew The Episcopal Church guys were such a fun bunch, maybe I should sign up?
Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian, 'Singles Bar'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Son of'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Bomb' -01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'TV'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian, 'Strong Men'-01   Fallon McElligott, Episcopal 'Carson'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopal 'TV'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Lions'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopal, 'Taped'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian, 'Contrary'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopal, 'Tablets'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian, 'Lions'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopal, 'Pastures'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian %22Santa'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Doubts'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian '1500 Years'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian, 'Sustain'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian, 'Garden Variety'-01 Fallon McElliigott, Episcopalian, 'Vicious'-01 Fallon McElligott, Loaves & Fishes'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian, 'Henry 8th'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian 'Desciples'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian 'Cake'-01 Fallon McElligott, Episcopal 'How many'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian, 'Easter'-01 Fallon McElligott, 'Speech'-01 Fallon McElligott, 'Mercedes'-01

Fallon McElligott, 'Gold Speech'-01Fallon McElligott, God The Client-01
The name Fallon McElligott started to turn up more and more, especially in books like the One Show.
4.8624a_lFallon McElligott, U.S. West 'Backwards'-01Fallon McElligott, U.S. West 'Carry'-01


Fallon McElligott, U.S. West 'Growth'-01 4.8613a_lFallon McElligott, Bob Lambert 'Hitler'-01Fallon McElligott, Bob Lambert 'Viet Cong'-01Fallon McElligott, Bob Lambert 'Schnozzle Durante'-01
People were taking notice of this agency in an odd location beginning with ‘M’.

One of them was Ed McCabe.
%22I wish I'd done That%22 Ed McCabe, McElligott-01Fallon McElligott, D'AMICA 1-01Fallon McElligott, D'AMICA 2-01Fallon McElligott, D'AMICA 3-01
They did this ad for the Art Centre.

But all their work seemed to be infused with this attitude.Fallon McElligott %22adcentre%22-01Fallon McElligott, Rick Dublin, 'Dull'-01Fallon McElligott, 'Squeezed Type'-01Fallon McElligott, News Centre 11 'Monuments'-01Fallon McElligott, Minnesota Federal 'Toasters'-01

Love this.Fallon McElligott 'No Penis'-01
It looks horrific, sad and disturbing.
It’s an announcement card for the birth of someones daughter.Fallon McElligott Vander 'Dog'1-01

Fallon McElligott, Vander, 'Tomato'-01Fallon McElligott, Vander, 'Where', -01Fallon McElligott, Vander, 'Where Speakers', -01
Fallon McElligott, Anti Smoking 'Exhale'-01Fallon McElligott, Anti Smoking 'First Sign'-01
The Hush Puppies campaign.
Very influential at the time.
Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies, 'Casual'-01Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies, 'Corporate'-01Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies, 'Classic'-01Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies, 'Sophisticated'-01Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies 'Sporting'-01Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies, 'Ventilated'-01Fallon McElligott, Hush Puppies %22Baby'-01glasnost_ad_smtbimage_4212

3.8715a_l 3.9117a_l
But they didn’t just do humour, they tackled difficult subjects head on.

 Fallon McElligott, The Children's Defense 'Pimple'-01 Fallon McElligott, The Children's Defense 'Period'-01 teenpreg1Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 08.59.28Fallon McElligott, 'Warranty'-03
2.8710b_lUl7GU

Fallon McElligott, Child Defense 'Sleep Around'-013.9118b_l3.9118c_lScreen shot 2014-03-04 at 08.54.20Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 08.54.47Fallon McElligott, The Children's Defense'Grounded For'-01Fallon McElligott, 'Defense Fund 'One On The Left'-01Fallon McElligott, 'Defense Fund '125, 000'-01Fallon McElligott, 'Defense Fund 'Subtract'-01

The Penn campaign.

(I remember drooling over the croissant execution at the time.)
Fallon McElligott, Penn 'Croisant'-01Fallon McElligott, Penn 'Snake'-01
Fallon McElligott,Penn 'Canadian Open'-01

3.9005b_l

They made a convincing case for Advertising itself.
Fallon McElligott, Advertising, 'Shaving'-01Fallon McElligott, Advertising, 'Icecubes'-01F Mc; 2ood6-01Fallon McElligott 'Newspaper'-01Fallon McElligott, Advertising, 'Machine'-01Fallon McElligott, Advertising, '5c'-01

There were also a lot of these Wall Street Journal ads, unfortunately this is the only one I can find.
I’m sure they influenced The Economist campaign.
At the moment, this is the only one I can lay my hands on.
Fallon McElligott, WSJ 'Translate'-01Fallon McElligott, WSJ 'Get It'-01Fallon McElligott, WSJ 'Fast Track'-01Fallon McElligott, Wall Street Journal, 'On The Way'-01 Fallon McElligott, WSJ 'Diary'-01Fallon McElligott, WSJ 'Trains'-01Tom McElligott, Wall Street Journal 'Title'-01Fallon McElligott, Wall St Journal, 'Weekly'-01Fallon McElligott,Wall Street Journal 'Country'-01Fallon McElligott, Wall Street Journal 'Fabric' -01Fallon McElligott, WSJ 'President' -01
Fallon McElligott, Time-01
Then the Rolling Stone campaign.

The Rolling Stone’s problem was that it struggled to sell its ad space, advertisers thought it’s readers were hippies.
The solution was so simple.
So smart.
So unlike any other ads at the time.
Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Hippe'-01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Coins'-01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Shoes'-01Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'CamperVan'-01Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Pill'-01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Bra'-01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Barbers' -01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stones 'Tyre'-02Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Soap'-01

A cool scratch and sniff version. (I’m guessing smelly & fresh?)
Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Sniff'-01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone, 'Brownies'-01 Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Racquet'-01 2.8707b_lFallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Post It'-01
Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Symbols'-01Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Keg'-01
Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Map'-01

   Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Mousse'-01Fallon McElligott- Rolling Stone %22Mouse%22-01Fallon McElligott- Rolling Stone %22Surf%22 Fallon McElligott- Rolling Stone %22Wolfe%22-01Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stones 'Naked'-01Fallon McElligott, Rolling Stone 'Grape Nuts'-01
It felt new, neither headline or visual lead, it had its own structure.

As did the Jim Beam campaign.
I’d not seen a campaign  like this; A list of dates and ephemera.
As much social commentary as advertising.
But it was great advertising, positioning Jim Beam as a classic.
Not only was it incredibly distinctive, it engaged and made you think.
It’s the kind of work that could give advertising a good name.
It wasn’t done by hucksters, it was done by smart guys having fun.
I presume this was the first one. It’s neat…
Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Drink DPS'-01JIM BEAM 'Drinks' adFallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Haircut'-01Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Trousers*'-01
…but who’d have thought it would’ve lead to all these?

Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Stadiums'-01 Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Hands'-01 Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Signs'-01 Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Badges'-01Fallon McElligott- Jim Beam %22Balls%22 Fallon McElligott- Jim Beam %22Barbeque%22   JimBeam_Lures JimBeam_Pets Fallon McElligott- Jim Beam %22Pants%22 -01JimBeam_Sandwiches Fallon McElligott- Jim Beam %22Playbills%22 -01tumblr_mzil336MWq1rpgpe2o5_r1_1280
Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Salt & Pepper'-01Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Graffitti'-01Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Lipstick'-01Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Made In...'-01
Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Balls'-01Jim Beam _Golf_
Fallon McElligott- Jim Beam %22Games%22
Fallon McElligott-Jim Beam %22Xmas%22
They did a Christmas version.Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 12.17.37Fallon McElligott, Jim Beam 'Name Tags' -01
They subverted the whole campaign idea with this responsible drinking ad.Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 12.20.05

They tackled a different aspect of drinking with the campaign for Windsor Canadian,
perfectly capturing the emotion of that first drink of the evening.
Fallon McElligott, Windsor Canadian 'Trolley'-01 Fallon McElligott, Windsor Canadian 'Tube'-01 Fallon McElligott, Windsor Canadian 'Tyres'-01Fallon McElligott- Windsor Canadian %22Boxes%22 Fallon McElligott-Windsor Canadian %22Cement%22$_3 $_58

As well as coming up with distinctive, own-able, visual devices for campaigns, they also did the same with words.
The way this Lee campaign is written looks familiar now, it wasn’t at the time.
6.8850b_l
Fallon McElligott, Lee 'Nails'-01 Fallon McElligott, Lee 'Places To Go'-01 Fallon McElligott, Lee 'Police'-016.8849b_l Fallon McElligott, Lee '36'-01Fallon McElligott, Lee 'Separate'-01Fallon McElligott, Lee 'Private'-01

Fallon McElligott, Lee 'Moving Out'-01
Fallon McElligott, Lee, 'Better Jeans'-01Fallon McElligott, Lee, '10000000'-01Fallon McElligott, Lee, 'How Jeans Companies'-01Lee1

Tom McElligott, Lee 'Blue, Blue'-01Fallon McElligott, ACA JOE 'Shrink' -01

They enlisted Stevie Wonder in the war against Drink Driving.
Very ballsy.
Fallon McElligott, 'Stevie Wonder'-01

They went visual with Power Pack.

Their work started to get National attention.
The clients they attracted got bigger, but the way they treated them stayed the same; ‘We don’t research creative  work.’
They won Penn tennis balls and produced this:

http://youtu.be/ZU375bFUHHg

They won Porsche, and with a few black letters and a pack shot, gave it attitude.
(If you’ve never tried writing three word headlines, try it, it’s really hard.)
Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'It beats'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Unclogs'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Fire'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Decals'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Corvettes'-01 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Children'-01 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Nothing'-01 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Porsches'-01 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Weld'-01 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Maybe not'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Rocket Scientists'-01 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Compromise'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche  'Compete'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Ivery Tower'-01porsche-010Fallon McElligott- Porsche %22Tabasco%22Fallon McElligott- Porsche %22Patents%22Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 08.58.15Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Crazy'-01
Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Leg'-01

INTERLUDE: Fallon were absolutely dominating the creative awards at this time,
One Show annuals of the period look like house brochures.
Here’s a mailer for a talk Tom gave around this time:
Tom McElligott Speaks ad-01

784f3e08f4eb32f48b0c034e98a21fb6 porsche_rs-america_ad_93 Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Scream'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Dead'-0112aaf6ce93e26db117b1f3941394bf18Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Pavlov'-01Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 08.58.32 tumblr_m7nq9vnT1f1r2nad3o1_500 tumblr_mw2p5mMWzK1sxs2gto1_500

Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Airline'-01Fallon McElligott-Porsche %22Joneses%22-01Porsche3 Porsche5Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Lid'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Solar'-01Fallon McElligott, Porsche 'Knuckles'-01
Pat Burnham, Carl Cedergren 'Stud fees'-01

They needed to hire to deal with all their new business.
Having exhausted the local supply of talented ad folk they’d have to attract talented people from the East and West Coast too. But why would they go to Minneapolis ?
Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 10.32.27Fallon McElligott, 'Liquor Account'-01
Fallon McElligott, House Ad-01

It’s possible Tom had just left by the time these ads ran, but they seem very Fallon McElligott.
Fallon McElligott- Horst %22Bow%22Fallon McElligott- Horst %22Ex%22 %22Fallon McElligott- Horst %22Hate%22

An awards show ran this ad when it was announced that Tom was leaving Fallon McElligott.
Fallon McElligott- House ad 2jpg
In 1987, this ad ran. Cheeky, but relatively harmless right?Fallon McElligott 'Bitch, Bitch...' -01
WRONG.
It was shown at a lecture on P.R. given by Fallon McElligott’s design arm; Duffy & Partners.
A member of the audience was offended, Dr. Neala Schleuning, so she sent Duffy & Partners a letter expressing her outrage.
In return she received the letter and photo below.
It’s signed by Duffy & Partners’ Charles S. Anderson, but its widely believed to be the work of Tom McElligott.
 dinkaletter dinka
Dr. Schleuning started showing the letter around to friends, then to the women’s consortium and they had contacts.
US WEST, a Fallon McElligott client, had a big active women’s union.

It snowballed, getting more and more exposure.
It became known as the “Dinka incident.”
First US WEST pulled its account.
Then Wall Street Journal, then FedEx.
It was a very expensive mistake, colleagues say it affected Tom very deeply.
He started to spend more time away from the agency and miss meetings.
Within a couple of years he quit.

I’d love to update this post, to show more work, make the chronology or information  more accurate, and simply to write more about Tom and Fallon McElligott.
So come on, get in touch, send me scans or leave comments, let’s make sure the next time someone searches ‘Tom McElligott’ on the internet, Google know where to find his work.

n.b. A bit more reading:

1. Tom & Ron Anderson get quizzed by Communication Arts.McElligott_Anderson article-page-001 McElligott_Anderson article-page-002 McElligott_Anderson article-page-003 McElligott_Anderson article-page-004 McElligott_Anderson article-page-005 McElligott_Anderson article-page-006 McElligott_Anderson article-page-007 McElligott_Anderson article-page-008 McElligott_Anderson article-page-009 McElligott_Anderson article-page-010

2. An interview with Inc. magazine from 1986: http://www.inc.com/magazine/19860701/1527.htmlA couple of articles

3. Introducing Tom and his gang to us Brits. (Direction magazine.)

Tom McEllgott. USATom McEllgott. Direction, 2

4. Catching up after he left Fallon McElligott. (Also Direction magazine.)
Tom McEllgott. Direction 3 Tom McEllgott. DirectonTom McEllgott. Directon 2

5.  A profile of Dean Hanson.
Dean worked very closely with Tom in the early years and created a lot of the great work in this post.
Fallon McElligott 'Dean Hanson Profile'-01Fallon McElligott, Readers Digest, Stevie Wonder-01

141 thoughts on “Hands up who’s heard of Tom McElligott?

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  3. Any idea if Fallon McElligott was responsible for the International Paper Company’s “Power of the Printed Word” series? Ever since my college advisor gave me a set about 20 years ago, I’ve periodically gone in search of more information but they seem to be generally forgotten about.

    A complete (?) set of low-res scans of the series is available here: http://simson.net/ref/1983/international-paper2.pdf

    Thanks for this terrific post!

    Regards,
    Paul

  4. Any idea if Fallon McElligott was responsible for the International Paper Company’s “Power of the Printed Word” series back in the early 1980s? Ever since my college advisor gave me a set about 20 years ago, I’ve periodically gone in search of more information but they seem to be generally forgotten about.

    A complete (?) set of low-res scans of the series is available here: http://simson.net/ref/1983/international-paper2.pdf

    Thanks for this terrific post!

    Regards,
    Paul

  5. Hey, Dave,
    Darryl (Wieden+Kennedy, Leagas Delaney) here.
    We met at Leagas Delaney, San Francisco, where you kindly gave me a book on typography.
    Fantastic of you to post these ads and for your effort, I would love to help keep Tom McElligott’s archive alive by scanning in and sending you some classics like bus shelters for photographer Ben Salzman and The Wall Street Journal along with some additional work from Lee Jeans, Hush Puppies, Rolling Stone all creatively directed by The Man, himself.
    Drop me an email, dude, and let me know if you want me to add to the collection. (Please give me an email to send stuff over to you.)
    Thanks again for bringing back great memories. (Sniff…)

    –DMc

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  10. Hi Dave,

    I was recently sent your blog post on Tom McElligott and was reminded of a six sheet poster in my parents garage featuring Betty Boop shedding a tear for a bad haircut. I questioned my old man (Dean Hanson) and he talked about how much he appreciated your blog posts – a great compilation of McElligott work from a time he is very fond of. He ask me to send on a photo of him and Tom from the early days of Fallon, McElligott Rice, and for good measure, Betty as well.

    Please let me know your email and I will pass them on.

    cheers for the post,

    Sam Hanson

  11. I to this day still have my Tom McElligott photo taped to the top right corner of my computer monitor and my Tommy Mack paper mask- with the eyes cut out – so when I run into a brain-fart, I can look at things through Tom’s eyes! Been doing this since the mid 80s.

  12. I had never heard about Tom McElligott, then I spent a few hours reading all those ads – Now I’m his biggest fan.

    Thank you so much for posting this, I can already feel that Tom’s work will have a lifelong impact on my career.

  13. Damn decent of you, Dave. To give such a brilliant man his due. You’ve taken a lot of trouble, putting it all together. But, it’s a just cause too. The phrase, ‘A few good men’ keeps ringing in my head. But then, ‘It’s a lost cause’ also keeps ringing in my head. Well, that’s a story for another day. Thank you. And cheers to you guys. You’ve been an inspiration. And made it entirely worthwhile.

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  15. A wonderful compilation. The year was 1991 and I had grown weary of carting my ‘spec’ copywriter portfolio around town, only the hear, “Due to the recession, we have a hiring freeze or we would take you on.” I thought it was time to give it up and try to find a different career. I had spent hundreds of hours studying his work-the best I had ever seen. Tom met with me and thoughtfully went over every piece of my work. He said he would not go easy or lie to me. I thought ‘here we go, I need to cut hair.’ He assured me I was talented and that it was the economic times, not me. He told me to not give up, but to keep trying. I have worked as a copywriter for the last 25 years, partially thanks to this legendary great ad writer. The passing of my father last month Ed Des Lauriers, Campbell-Mithun Executive CD and Pat Fallon yesterday-other Minneapolis Ad greats, prompted me to find your post. Thank you.

  16. I loved his work. Every word.

    He elevated copy to an art form. Everything he wrote was far more than entertainment or persuasion. He made you feel as if he was letting you in on a clever joke. Or confession. Or both.

    And then, he became the ad industry’s J.D. Salinger.

    I miss him. I miss those days.

  17. Two quick things: Thank you for compiling all of this inspiring work. And, I’ve always admired your own work as well. But where did the Lee Lite Jeans ad go with the jeans on the washing line? It was the only ad in your collection that I could claim credit for! I came into Fallon on practically the day Tom left. But I’d started my run at Fallon by working at McCool & Company for 3 years first. McCool (founded by, yes, a very cool guy named Barry McCool) became a subsidiary of Fallon in 1987. The general idea was that McCool, which was more of a design shop than anything, would handle all of the collateral for Fallon’s clients, but we frequently got our hands on incredible opportunities. Not long into it, Jamie Barrett and Jarl Olsen took me under their wings and made sure I started to get my hands on more and more swings from home plate.
    (God bless them.) Towards the end, I was informed that the gang at Fallon felt like hiring me at the agency proper was kind of like shooting themselves in the foot–I was a great resource who was taking care of the “crap” projects. So I left. Interestingly, the space of the agency I went to (Y&R New York, Minneapolis Branch–long story) was just a few stories below Tom’s new agency: McElligott Wright Morrisson White. So, I naturally pestered him constantly. Finally, after 6 months at Y&R, Fallon invited me back home. I was there for another 19 years. My first partner was Bob Barrie. (!) I had the unbelievable luck to worth with ad legends Tom Lichtenheld, Houman Pirdavari, Dean Hanson and Mike Fazende among others. Special note goes to Mark Johnson who, for some unknown reason, decided to mentor me. His favorite technique was to stop everything that was happening at any moment, grab my arm, look me in the eye, and say, “Mike, if you don’t learn how to do this, you won’t have a career in this business.” They were my heroes and I was intimidated. They turned out to be the most unassuming, mellow, helpful and devoted people I’ve ever met. In fact, much to my shock, they were also just as wildly insecure as I was. Such is the life, huh? So, I missed Tom. And I miss him, too. Thanks again, Dave.

  18. Thanks, Dave!
    I studied all of these at one point, and saw many in real life around the Twin Cities. I just listened to your 2nd ITIAPTWC podcast with Ben Kay. I’m eagerly awaiting the next one. I’m a copywriter in LA but I started out in Minneapolis at the height of the FM(…R) regime. In fact I got most of my work in the early years, in Minneapolis, Tokyo and Los Angeles, by showing around a silly little book that I made chronicling my heroic yet futile attempts to get Tom McElligott’s attention when I was first starting out. Sadly I doubt that the longer headlines and body copy that won Tom clients back then would be appreciated in today’s ad industry, where no one will publicly admit to having done print, and recruiters who spot it consider it a disqualifying blemish.

  19. Pingback: Another Reason Advertising Kinda Blows Right Now - The Writer UndergroundThe Writer Underground

  20. I live in Argentina. I´m a copywriter. I always admire the work of Tom McElligot. And your work, Dave. A lot of people, here, in my country, learned advertising traslating yours ads. Bye. (Sorry for my bad english).

    • Hey Fernando, you’re very kind.
      Your English is great, so much better than my Argentinian.
      Best,
      D.
      p.s. I’m about to post an interview with Tom McElligott soon.

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