Joe Sedelmaier.

Joe Sedelmaier & Crew*-01Of all the reels I’ve been shown over the years, I can think of only two that made such an impression I can still remember where I was shown them.
The first was in Director Nick Lewin’s office, that was Howard Zieff’s reel.
The second was in the boardroom of a small agency I used to work for called Edwards Martin Thornton, that was yours.
Howard Zieff was terrific.
When I was starting out he was already doing great work, it was some ritzy stuff, all about the execution of the idea.
He did a print ad for Utica Club beer, terrific ad!
Utica Beer '50 Years', Sid Myers, DDB NY-01

You were born on the same day as me, but a bit before, two days into the Chicago World’s Fair, what was Chicago like in those days?Chicago World's Fair 1933 2
May 31st?
Wow! That’s my birthday too.
You’re a Gemini like me.
Well you know we’re both two-faced?
It’s true, I was born at the start of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, but I’m not a Chicagoan, I was born in Ohio.
Orville Ohio.
Sounds like something out of a Sinclair Lewis novel.
My father died when I was eight years old, heart attack.
My mother was a very strong woman, thank God.
I was very fortunate, she was very strong-willed, she said ‘Now you’re not going to go to a trade school, you’re going to get your degree’.
So I went to the Chicago Art Institute.
She was absolutely right but for all the wrong reasons, she said that’s the way you get a job, but when I got there it opened up a whole new world. You look back at these things that happen to you and think; “Boy, how lucky I was to have met those people.
If I’d had my own way, I’d have gone to that fucking trade school.”

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A cartoonist, doing comic strips like Chester Gould, this was the forties, a high time for comics.
In the thirties and forties he did some terrific work, but then, I don’t know whether he got bored or what? But all of a sudden Dick Tracey was going to the moon, it just went down hill from there.Chester Gould 'Dick Tracy' 2
Chester Gould 'Dick Tracy' 3I’m lucky I didn’t do it, I’d be stuck with one character.
What I loved about commercials was that each one was different.
I wasn’t stuck with one character, people would say “Didn’t you put actress Clara Peller under contract?” And I’d say “Absolutely not, if I did I’d have to use her and she may not be right.’”

Who were your early influences?
When I was fifteen years old I got a book ‘The New Yorker Magazine 25th Anniversary Annual’, all their stuff from the very beginning. Oh my God!The New Yorker 25th Anniversary Annual, 1950
I think I wore that book out, those cartoons were so great, all those characters were straight, underplayed.
You take from this,  you take from that, I was influenced by so many people, and so many things, I think that’s true of everybody, but then you make it your own.

How did you end up in an ad agency?
At art school you didn’t think about getting a job, you thought about being in some garret or whatever.
But in my final year I took an advertising course and started thinking about getting a job.
When I graduated I went to someone who placed Art Directors, or potential Art Directors, called Doug Smith.  Later that same day he called up to say he already had a job for me  in a studio.
About two weeks later he called again saying a guy from Y&R would like to talk to me.
I didn’t know what a Y&R was, it meant nothing to me, so I said ‘Thanks a lot, but I’ve already got a job’.
Talk about early stupidity.
Another week later, Doug calls again and says “This guy would really like to see you.”
So I went to see him.
Not because I was interested in that job, but I felt a responsibility to Doug who had done all the work.
Well, I got hired, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

What was Y&R Chicago like in 1956?
It was small, but my Creative Director Sam was from New York (I don’t think they knew what to do with him in New York).
He was a great guy.
In those days Art Directors worked in chalk, I hated chalk, but Sam let us work in pencil, Indian Ink, wash or whatever.
Once you did something you’d have to defend your work, ‘what are you trying to say?’, etc, I learnt so much.
But in the area of film, the producer had complete control.
They’d take my storyboard and go to the West Coast and use some schlock outfit, turn it into crap.
I wanted to be involved in the whole damned thing, and people would say, even back then, ‘you’re not a collaborator Joe’.
But I loved it because you had our day in court, you can see the whole thing through, when you got done you could say ‘Yeah, I did this’.

Sounds great, why leave?
Well, Clinton Frank did schlock work, but a new Creative Director had taken over, he called and said ‘come over, we could do some good stuff’.
It was true, I was able to do good stuff.
Joe Sedelmaier & Son 'Northern Trust
How were you learning at this time?
I used to go to these Advertising Age seminars and what these guys were saying was just fantastic, they’d talk about integrity, ethics, y’know, they’d sound like Bill Bernbach, who was the shining light back then, Doyle Dane’s stuff was fantastic, still is, still works.
But I found out these seminars were like church on a Sunday.
At the seminars all us Art Directors would be really excited, inspired and talking about what we’d heard.
Then we’d get back to work and they’d be saying ‘yeah, that stuff’s good to talk about, but let’s get back to reality’.
Everyone talked a good game but when it came down to doing something, it was like ‘Whoa…they’ll never buy this!’.
The trick was finding people on your level.
In the beginning it was difficult.

Another call, this time Leo Burnett?
They said ‘you gotta come over to Leo Burnett Joe’.
So I did.
Worst decision I ever made.
You were an art director and that was it.
I had this little cubicle, I mean when I was at Y&R I had an office with a window looking down Michigan Avenue, and I was just an assistant Art Director there.
Also, I really wanted to get into the films and commercials, I’d tell people and they’d say ‘you gotta go down and talk to the guy running commercials’.
I’d go down and talk the Head Producer and he’d say ‘We’re the ones doing all the creative work anyhow, if you wanna do TV it has to be through us’.
I kept being told ‘You know Joe, it’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution, and you gotta be part of the group, the team, it’s collaborative’ and all that bullshit.
That division of labour, or whatever you wanna call it, was bullshit.
Although in those days most art directors weren’t really interested in film, they wanted to do their print, which was fine, but I wanted to do film.

Do you remember the first time you encountered the creative revolution?
There was no creative revolution!
It was a small group of DDB off shoots, like Mary Wells, who did some interesting work.
No one else was doing that, mainly it was Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and all this boring stuff.
But I can remember seeing VW and the Ohrbachs ‘You don’t have to be Jewish’ ad; terrific!

So how long did you hit that wall at Leo Burnett’s?
Nine months.
Luckily I got a call from Bill Johnson, the Creative Director at JWT, they were cleaning the slate, getting rid of all these old people who’d been there forever, retiring them.
One of the best decisions I ever made.

Did JWT allow you to get more involved in film?
Much more.
I worked on Chung King, they’d been using comedian Stan Freberg to write their ads, he’d been making a name for himself doing funny ads.

They called him in and asked him what ideas he had for the coming year, well, Stan said he’d need paying before he told them his ideas.
The thing went back and forth until eventually the meeting ended and one of the guys said to Stan ‘Keep in touch’, or something.
After he’d gone the Creative Director said ‘how would you and Dave like to have a crack at those spots?’
So we worked on the egg roll brief, we thought what is an egg roll? So we had this idea about ‘How do you eat an Egg Roll?’, set in a cocktail party.
I did the print too, and at the time you didn’t shoot food against a black background, it was about 1964, so we did the presentation and the client liked all the work, they wanted to run the test film we’d made, but that wasn’t possible because of the Unions.
They said there’s just one problem; the food should never be against a black background.
He’d hardly got done with that sentence when the account guy said ‘Oh no, no, no, we can change that to any color you want’.
He looked like a complete asshole.
It’s these things you come up against.
I couldn’t re-shoot the spot myself, I had to shoot it in Chicago with this real schlock studio, they had some kind of deal with the agency.
But I got everything lined up the way I wanted.
I then talked to the cinematographer who’d put a credenza in the background that was lit, and I said ‘No, that drops off, we light the people, we’re not selling the credenza here’.
Nice guy, but his lighting was terrible.
We were shooting a cocktail party and I wanted to shoot someone talking to someone else off camera.
So I cropped it tight, to leave it to people’s imagination.
We got the film back, he’d shot it wide.
So it was obvious they were talking to no-one, he was talking to himself!
He said ‘I just wanted to cover it for you’, I thought Jesus Christ!
We went in and blew it up, it ended up ok, but the color was shit, real schlock guys.
I guess it was my first foray into film.Chun King 'Egg Rolls', Joe Sedelmaier, JWT copy
Joe Sedelmeier 'Chun King',Joe Sedelmeier

Did you do any good TV at JWT?
No, no, no, oh my God!
I mean, you pay your dues.
I remember I did a lot of the Jello commercials, Jello is a pretty boring product, so the original idea was to go across the country and find real people who would recommend certain things to put in Jello that would make it more interesting.
I thought what I couldn’t do with that! It could be very funny.
Well, it ended up that what they really wanted was real people who looked like they’d stepped out of the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.
You’d end up with a commercial where the kids come home from school and say ‘Hey mom what’re we having for dinner?’ and the mom would say ‘We’re having Jello Brand Beef Mold’.
WHO THE HELL PUTS ‘BRAND’ IN THERE?
Then you’d have the end shot; everyone is sitting down, all dressed up, and the husband will say something like ‘Honey, you’re a GREAT cook.’, the Mom will then look at the camera, wink, then say ‘I have a little help’.
OH MY GOD!
That’s terrible.
I did a few of those in the beginning, but you keep pushing.

How did you make the break to being a director?
One day the rep of a stills guy got in touch saying ‘We’ll sponsor you if you help this stills guy get into film’,
I said OK, but I never want to be on his set, they said fine.
But it didn’t work.
The stills photographer had no idea of motion.
I built this one set in his studio, like a witches den, it was a real mess, he came back, saw it and said he felt I didn’t fit in.
I didn’t.
Well, the rep, Marty, went with me, not the stills guy.
Marty was a good guy, an honest guy, but we disagreed fundamentally on one thing.  He was interested in all the top creative directors, but I didn’t care about them, I was interested in the grunts, the art directors and writers, those are the people I wanted to work with.
I knew that if I was an Art Director and the Creative Director came in and said ‘Hey Joe, I want you to use this guy’, I’d say ‘Go fuck yourself!’.
He just didn’t get that.
So I bought him out three years later.
I didn’t have a pot to piss in.
He was saying to people ‘I give it a year’.
But I found a manager, someone I loved, who took care of the money and I went on from there.
Things worked out.

Joe Sedelmaier & Son

TV ads in those days featured square-jawed men holding up products to the camera didn’t they? What were you shooting?
Well, not quite, it’s true most of them were like that, but then you had Doyle Dane.
They were doing terrific stuff back then.
The one guy in the business I looked up to then was Bill Bernbach, it was Bill Bernbach, Bill Bernbach, Bill Bernbach.
Not just because he was successful, but because he didn’t insult your intelligence.
That was before Doyle Dane became big.
There were other people, like David Ogilvy, but I never liked his work, it appealed to snobs, the ‘Man in the Hathaway Shirt’, and all that bullshit.
Hathaway 'Ivory', Ogilvy & Mather
Or Leo Burnett…with so called mid-western advertising, whatever that is? Down-home? It was very successful.
Kellog's 'Don't Forgetters', Leo Burnett
But I didn’t want to do that kind of thing.
So you move forward.
You win some, you lose a lot.

Which ad put you on the map?
Southern Airways.
The minute I saw the script I thought what I couldn’t do with that!  Fantastic.

Because he was just starting the agency, he had no-one there yet, so I went ahead and later he sent up.
Then an Art Director who’d just been hired was sent to have a look at the set.
He said ‘OH MY GOD! They’ll never buy this!’.
But by this time I was like ‘Screw it, were going with it’.
He was like a dark cloud all over that shoot, ‘They’ll never buy this’, ‘They’ll never buy that’.
Then the clients came in, two Southern guys, and Southern Airlines had never made a commercial before, this was their first one.
They said ‘Well let’s have a look at what we got?’.
We showed them.
They said ‘Looks fun, let’s go with it.’
But it could’ve gone the other way.
If that Art Director had had power we could never have done that spot.
After that I decided ‘No more serious commercials, we’re doing strictly comedy’.
So I put just comedy on the reel, it was difficult in the beginning, people say ’Sure everyone laughs but no-one will remember the name of the product’, well that’s bullshit.
These things are seen over and over, so you make them so that you can watch them over and over.
Nine tenths of the ads that are supposedly humourous have a joke at the end, but once you’ve heard the joke that’s it.
To me it’s the telling of the joke.
I could never tell a joke.
I had a friend who was great at telling jokes, I used to get him to tell me the same jokes over and over, because what was funny was his execution of the joke.

The proof of that is the film ‘The Aristocrats’?
Oh my God!
Oh yes!
It’s absolutely fantastic!
My wife and I went to an afternoon showing of that film, and we were sitting there and there were these people sitting in front of us saying ‘This is absurd, that’s really uncalled for, I mean if you can’t say something funny without resorting to that kind of language’.
Well, they became as funny as the film.
That film’s a classic.

So Joe, here’s my three funniest films; W. C. Fields ‘It’s A Gift’, Pre…
Oh I love it!
I love Fields.
‘It’s A Gift’ is brilliant!

It’s interesting, Fields always repeated himself, but he’d tweak things each time.
The perfect Fields film is ‘The Bank Dick’, also ‘The Man On The Flying Trapeze’.
I got ‘em all.
I mean, Fields was brilliant.
Chaplin is considered brilliant, and boy he was.
I’d put him at the top…what I should say is that there’s no-one above him.
I love Keaton, The Marx Brothers, but when I look at Chaplin he did more.
With Keaton there’s ‘The General’, which is brilliant, the same with ’Sherlock Jnr’, after that there were moments.
Same with The Marx Brothers, ‘Duck Soup’ is brilliant.

But with Chaplin, his Mutual comedies, well, I laughed my ass off at them, then I look at his films in the twenties, brilliant!
And of course the highlight is ‘City Lights’, but after that there are only moments.
‘Modern Times’ had it’s moments, ‘The Great Dictator’ had it’s moments too, but he never really understood sound, he also talked too much in the later films.
The best moment in the ‘Great Dictator’ is silent, the bit where he’s dancing with the globe, brilliant stuff, but it’s silent.

A lot of my stuff is silent, like the Independent Life ads, but with a very straight voiceover.
All my voiceovers were straight.

Ok, next would be Preston Sturges and ‘The Lady Eve…
Oh yes!
Isn’t it wonderful we can see those films?
I got all of Sturges’s films on Blu-Ray.
What’s interesting about Sturges is that his film ’Sullivan’s Travels’ is all about comedy, how important comedy is integral to our lives, but there wasn’t a funny thing in the film!
But ‘The Lady Eve’ is brilliant.

He had his little stable of actors and it was wonderful.
He also did a film with a silent comedian I left out earlier; Harold Lloyd, called ‘The Sin Of Harold Diddlebock’.
It’s about what happens to Lloyd’s character in ‘The Freshman’, (which is a brilliant film, really great).
But ‘Harold Diddlebock’ really isn’t that good.

He’d been great as the young go-getter in ‘The Freshman’.

But in ‘Diddlebock’ he was in his forties, late forties, that character just didn’t work, the character becomes pathetic.
The same with Buster Keaton, originally he worked for Joe Schenk, who was like a father to him, he left him alone and Keaton did some great work.

When Schenk left, Keaton was approached by Irving Thalberg from MGM, who said ‘You’ve gotta come over here we’ve got everything, all this great lighting equipment and everything’.
Keaton went.
All of a sudden he had to present a script on what he was going to do.
Well, the funny stuff Keaton did had nothing to do with a script.
He could fall off a rock and it’d be funny.
But it’s not funny if you write it down.
He didn’t do much after that.Joe Sedelaier091-01
But Chaplin always owned his own studio.
I learned from that.
When I became successful a lot of the big studios on the West Coast, Fox and MGM thought ‘Hey, there’s a lot of money to be made in commercials, this guys doing fine’, so they came to me to buy the studio.
I felt like I was ready to be raped.
The money was terrific and everything, but I never wanted to be an employee again.
You wouldn’t be talking to me today if it’d happened.
I got to where I got because I had control.
It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you’re not in the right set up you won’t do a thing.

 Third would have to be a Woody Allen film, there’s so many, it’d be between ‘Annie Hall’, ‘The Puple Rose Of Cairo’, Manhattan’, ‘Love & Death’, ‘Hannah And Her Sisters’, ‘Play It Again Sam’ and ‘Midnight In Paris’.
He’s done some terrific work, there’s no doubt about it.

How about you Joe, what are your top three?
I can’t do that I’m afraid, there are too many.
I’ve been taking Sight & Sound Film Magazine since 1956, it was the first serious film magazine.
When I came to Chicago in 1955 there were no books out on film.
None.
You gotta realize when I was a young man in my twenties the only way you saw classic films was through Film Societies, I belonged to a small one in Chicago, we got our films from the Museum of Modern Art, who were the first people to recognize film as a modern art.
We’d get these 16mm films and I’d take two record players and I’d score these films with my record collection, thirty-three and a third records.
I learnt a lot about music that way.
When you think today, young people have access to every film ever made, my God.
That’s fantastic.
But I’ll talk to some of the students in film class, I’ll say ‘Ever seen Chaplin?’ and this young guy studying film will say ‘Yeah, I thought Downey was ok’,
What?
I never understand that, I mean you’ve got everything available today.

How did you direct?
All my characters play it straight.
In an audition someone would come in and say ‘How do you want me to play it; straight or for humour?’, and I’d think right away that they didn’t really understand, you play EVERYTHING straight.
Watch ‘Being There’.
Oh my God!
What a classic.
Peter Sellars always played everything straight, one of the funniest guys ever.
The sad thing was, Sellars never realized just how good he was.
My God, he was brilliant.

Did you welcome clients on shoots?
Well yeah, it has to start at the top, I used to like the clients being at the shoot, I didn’t like functionaries being there who didn’t have any power, who had to report back to someone, things change on shoots, you want someone who has the power to go with it.
When I think of John Kelly from Alaska Airlines, he was on every shoot, he was wonderful, he was there about seven years, then he was made President of Alaska Airlines and some other guy came in.
It was OK at first because the shadow of John was there, but a couple of years in it started to level off.
Seven years is a lifetime in this business……

You have a very idiosyncratic taste in music.
Did Larry David steal your iPod?
I’ve read interviews with David where he admitted that the music from ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ was taken from a bank ad.
I’ve watched bits of it, it’s funny, but I haven’t watched a lot of it.
Larry David for me always seemed like an old Woody Allen.
They made a film together…Oh my God! It was so bad, oh my God!
Music is so important in film but you never hear it talked about that much, you see a critique of a film and they never mention music.
Imagine ‘The Third Man’ without that music?
Or ‘Lawrence of Arabia’?

Joe Sedelmaier Following Bike
Joe Sedelmaier Fed Ex Stand In

‘He’s more like Jacques Tati than anyone I can think of, I can’t wait to see his feature films’ – Steven Spielberg.
I met him, he’s one of the few guys out there who’s not full of bullshit, he’s a very straight guy, a very good guy, I’m not what you’d call a big Steven Speilberg aficionado or whatever, but he’s a very honest guy.
Talking about films today, the guys I really like are the Coen Brothers, I love the Coen Brothers, They’ve stayed by themselves too, ‘The Serious Man’, Oh my God it was so beautifully done, there’s still great stuff being done……

Joe Sedelmaier, Esquire Cover, 1983
joe-sedelmaier-behind-camera-1-750xx627-353-45-0
Why no feature films?
Once I’d done ‘Where’s The Beef’, and ‘Fast Talking Man’ and all that, the William Morris Agency got in touch.
They wined and dined me and they said ‘Joe, you gotta be making features!’
They sent me all these scripts; ‘Hey, this is a fun script, real fun’.
That’s not what I did, I wanted a synopsis of the story and I’d take it from there.
They never got that.

I remember first discovering how Directors worked in the States, just handing over a big pile of film, rather than an edit.
You didn’t work that way?
No, when I came over to London to do my first job it blew my mind, they wanted my input, the input of the director.
They’d be ‘Well you’re the Director, how do you want to do it?’, it was fantastic, guys like Tim Delaney, who was just a terrific guy to work with…oh my God.

‘Velly Nice’ and the manic fiddle player are great, I love the Wendy’s ‘Russian’ ad.

Well I was presented with this thing ‘at Wendy’s you have a choice’,
Well first of all casting, now I didn’t want this thing, a Russian fashion Show to feature a lot of guys who looked Anglo-Saxon, so I had the casting director go to the Polish Consulate.  I wanted that Slavic look, (A Woman commissar called Romania Anna Parker), so we got Poles, boy they looked like they’d lived, one was part of a Romanian Nightclub we had here.
So I got this big guy and dressed him up like a woman.
On the shoot we had this woman going back and forth on this catwalk wearing exactly the same thing, and we were doing the bit where it says ‘evening wear’, but then I thought ‘Hey, wait a minute, I’m gonna give her a flashlight’.
I hadn’t even thought of that before the shoot.
We shot it in a Country Club and I noticed on the ceiling were all these little stars, so I had someone get up there and paint them red.
So we really got the feeling.
It only played twice, everyone got upset because Gorbachev was coming over, so they felt he was being insulted or some bullshit.

‘Where’s the beef?’ really blew up….
Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 3Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 13Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 20Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 4Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 6Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef'  14Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 7Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 17Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 8Joe Sedelmaier 'Where's The Beef' 2

It’s great to see all your ads, even the very early ones, in such mint condition.
Thank God I kept the negatives on every ad I did.
I’d make a copy and give that one to the client or agency, I knew eventually they’d lose it.
These things get shifted from place to place when accounts move, they always get lost.
Thank God I kept them.

Good for you, most people I interview don’t have a thing, they chuck their work out.
You’ve shot thousands of ads, that film must take up a lot of space?
Sure, I’d love to give the negatives to a museum.
We have a museum here in Chicago, The Paley Museum, it’s a Radio and TV museum, it’s very well endowed, they have all my stuff in HD, so they don’t want the original negative, it’s impractical for them.
I’d love to know what to do with the original negative? I sometimes think ‘Oh my God, am I going to have to destroy it?

One of the benefits of keeping your film and getting it transferred to HD was that I discovered Youtube were wrong, there weren’t three penis’s on the front lawn in that Independent Life commercial.

So many people said that, they’d say typical Sedelmaier, in the end I’d say ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what they are’.
But it was totally innocent.

How did you find directing Brits?
First of all, they were mainly actors, but they were wonderful, very much into their profession.
Unlike L.A. they weren’t into being a star, they were great to work with.
There was one guy, who wasn’t an actor, and I noticed when I interviewed him that instead of saying yes, he’d go ‘Urmm’, like a grunt, I thought what I couldn’t do with that.
Those are the things you look for, you never find that on the page.

I guess I do this blog because I’m constantly amazed at how people aren’t aware of the work of amazing creative people like yourself or Tom McElligott for example.
I worked with Tom, he was absolutely great.
But towards the end we fell out over Clara Peller, the ‘Where’s The Beef?’ lady.
Before that ad she was in an ad I was doing for McElligott, about four little old ladies, bakers, and they were taking bread out of the oven saying ‘You test it first’, ‘No you test it first’, going back and forth, and then you cut to delicate little Clara who says in that deep, gravelly voice ‘I’LL TASTE IT!’.
WOW!
It was sort of an ordinary idea, but she made it something special.
And what upset the hell out of me was that I found out that the agency took the commercial and dubbed a typical old lady voice over Clara.
It never even went to the client.
Well…that was the end of our relationship.
I never let them forget it.
You gotta have courage, you gotta go with these things, they stop ads being ordinary.

You’ve had endless imitators, but none seem to be able to do it acurately, why?
Most people thought, as John Moschitta, the fast talking man, said ‘You take a guy and use a wide-angle lens to make him look weird’.
I never used a wide-angle lens to distort the face.
I used it to bring in the background, because we didn’t have much time to establish the situation. When I went into a close up I used a long lens, but on a medium shot I used a wide lens.
For example, on the Independent Life ad where they’re selling insurance in the department store, I put a drunk in the background.
Now most people don’t even notice that.
But most commercials are watched over and over and over, so it’s not about the punch-line, it’s the journey to the punch-line.
Some people don’t want to face up to that,
When I look back at those people supposedly doing ‘Sedelmaier’, they weren’t doing Sedelmaier…by any means..
If someone came to me, and I wasn’t Sedelmaier, and said ‘We’d like you to do a Sedelmaier’, I’d tell them to go ‘Fuck off! Go get Sedelmaier’.
You’ve sold your soul already.

I wonder whether it’s to do with them only being able to see what you put out, not what you take in?
I read an interview with Bryan Ferry once, from the British group Roxy Music, he said he really regretted giving away all his idiosyncratic influences, because it allowed people to imitate him more accurately.
That’s absurd.
I don’t think you can give away influences, we’re all influenced, I’m influenced by a lot of people, but the point is it that eventually becomes you.
Or it doesn’t.
Besides, if you’re any good you’re gonna be an influence.
I’ll give you an example, take Trauffet, he loved Hitchcock, so he wanted to do a ‘Hitchcock’ film.
He made this film, ‘The Bride Wore Black’.
It wasn’t a ‘Hitchcock’ film, he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t keep himself out of it, it came out a Trauffet film.
What I’m saying is you can be influenced by people but that doesn’t mean you’re copying them, if you can be copied you’re not worth copying.

 So why couldn’t people copy you well.
They looked at the wrong things.
In all of my work there are no funny lines.
The humour doesn’t come from the page, it’s the people saying those things, the dialogue is often banal as hell, it sometimes wouldn’t even make sense on the page.
Those guys never understood that.
They’d find these freaky looking people, that’s not what I do, you wouldn’t give the people in my ads a second glance if you saw them walking the street.
I’d always make my own storyboard, just for me, but I knew if I just followed that storyboard something was wrong.
You’re waiting for things to happen, accidents, something.
When they happen you need the wherewithal and latitude to change things to make them work.
Also, I could never have done what I did if I didn’t have my own studio.
Usually when you become successful you hire other Directors.
NO WAY!
Then you have to worry about whether you are keeping the other Directors busy.
I made sure I stayed small, all I wanted to do is do what I did and surround myself with good people who were comfortable in their jobs.

“Sedelmaier was able to do things with people that you’re not allowed to do today because it’s not politically correct. Sedelmaier is a flat-out genius. People try to do it now and get about 10 percent of Sedelmaier’s casting right.” – Joe Pytka

Obviously budding Sedelmaiers today can make films for nothing, but I worry that everything being so available means it has no value, it’s not precious, and therefore isn’t appreciated?
You’re right,
There was no such thing as a film school when I was younger, so for me to shoot short films at the weekend I had to save up to buy a Bollex, and eventually an Ariflex, and an Agra Tape Recorder, but that was expensive, now you can do great work and if it’s not ok you can erase it.
You can make mistakes, which is important.
I got my films transferred at Transferers, and the kids there complain about advertising today, they say ‘Oh, you lived in the golden age’, but every age is the golden age, the golden age is the age you live in.

Are you a Mad Men fan?
Jesus Christ!
People loved that.
There were a lot of alcoholic Art Directors, no doubt, but when I was in the business there was no drinking in the office, except for maybe up in the Chairman’s office.
First of all, the guy who plays the main character, Don Draper, he was terrible, he couldn’t sell me anything.
People believe what they want to believe.
Look at Donald Trump, if you were to write that character into a bit of fiction they’d say no, no, that’s way out, take him out, it’s just too crazy.

 I could imagine Trump appearing in one of your ads, as one of the weirdos, not weirdos, I mean one of the ‘everyday people who you wouldn’t give a second look at if you saw them on the street’?
Joe Sedelmaier In ActionDonald Trump 'Hair'
He’s a walking cliché.
Let him keep being Donald Trump, he puts his foot in his mouth every single day.
He keeps improving on his own shit.
How he got as far as he did scares the shit out of me.

Thanks for your time Joe.

 

Nb. More Joe…
Joe Sedelmaier, Esquire Cover, 1983Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 9.29.22 AMJoe Sedelmaier, Esquire article 1r, 1983
Joe Sedelmaier, Esquire article 2, 1983Joe Sedelmaier, Esquire article 3, 1983Sedelmaier, 'Ad Age 1976'

How joe makes his ads…

IN-CAMERA 7: Phil Marco.

‘Naturalistic’.
It’s the vogue in photography at the moment, images that feel almost user-generated;
clashing colours, lens flare, areas out of focus, etc, etc.

It’s a kind of anti-style.
I think there are two reasons for its current popularity;

1: Trust.
In a world full of the kooky, unprofessional, fresh imagery you find on your various Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds, something very polished can feel like marketing.

And marketing, as most of us know, is trying to sell you something.
So ‘unprofessional’ can feel more honest.

2: Money.
It’s not so much the lack of it, it’s more the reluctance to pay ‘too much’.
Most clients can now take a pretty good picture for free, so why pay an expert a thousand times more? The picture won’t be a thousand times better.
So the gap between home-made and professional gets smaller.
People think ‘I’ll pay a hundred times more, but not a thousand’.
(NOTE FROM EDITOR: 1000 x ‘free’ is still ‘free’, as is 100 x ‘free’.)

The downside with this ‘naturalistic’ style is that often the images are very samey, cheap looking and unmemorable.
That’s a problem when you are trying to get a product noticed.
and make it more desirable than the competition.

It’s even more of a problem with products that aren’t rational purchases, like alcohol, fragrance and jewelry.
They’re bought as much on the ‘vibe’ of the brand as they are on the product themselves.
Seduction is more important than naturalism.

There are many words you could use to describe Phil Marco’s images,
‘naturalistic’ isn’t one of them.

phil-marco-graphis-1-01
Where were you born?
Chicago, raised in Brooklyn.
As a child I was always 
drawing and began to paint at a very early age.
Later I studied fine art at Pratt and The Art Students’ League.
But I have to back up a bit because it really all began with music.
My father was an opera singer, so almost from day one the air around me was filled with the sounds of my father vocalizing, playing Caruso records and practicing arias, accompanied by my Mother at the piano.
Dad was also a musician who taught me the rudiments of music and the piano, by age four I was playing Bach and Beethoven.
Music and sounds were to have a very dominant influence in my life.
The reason we left Chicago was in response to a phone call that Dad received from Herbert Witherspoon in New York.
Herbert Witherspoon-01.jpg
He said ‘Roberto; I’m going to have a place for you here at the Met’.
It was exciting news, an amazing opportunity for Dad, so we immediately began to plan and pack for a permanent move to New York.
En route to New York however Herbert Witherspoon passed away, it was an overwhelming tragic and unfortunate turn of events.

What is your first memory of being visually aware?
I was about five years old when we moved to Brooklyn.
We finally settled into an apartment in the west end of Bensonhurst, which was, to say the least, very unique.
The floor was level with an elevated subway line whose tracks were just about eight feet away from our third floor windows facing the street.
So whenever a train passed, the entire apartment and the furniture in it would shimmy and shake. At night I’d love to put out the room lights and listen intently to the syncopated sound of the approaching trains anxiously waiting for them to pass by the windows.
The light emanating from inside the cars was dream-like and surreal.
The cars were so close that you could very clearly see the expressions on the faces of the strap hangers saturated in this glow of warm yellow-green light.
It was like viewing the animation of a George Tooker painting.''Cafe' George Tooker.jpg

How did you get into the photography business?
I came across an ad for a photo assistant.
Now, I had a very light knowledge of photography, having used a camera only as a sketching pad to record ideas for future paintings.
I really didn’t have too much to offer in the way of experience but I had a lot of nerve, and confidence that I could to do anything that I needed to do, if I put my mind to it, so with that motivation I answered the ad.
I walked up the steps, which were dripping with water, and I came to a door gushing water from beneath, flooding the hall.
The photographer answered the door; he had been photographing people showering for a series of ads for Dial soap.
I told him that I knew very little about photography but I was willing to learn and do what ever was necessary.
I guess it was my directness and the fact that he was flooded and he needed somebody to help him at the time: He handed me a mop and said, ‘The job’s yours kid.’
So I started there part-time because the whole objective was to secure more time and funds to pursue painting.
The job paid $37.00 a week to start.
My job was to get there in the morning, wake up the photographer, walk the dog, and take care of some very basic studio needs.
In time I picked up on loading cameras, mixing chemicals, printing and what ever else he needed as we went along.
The photographer’s name was Lew Long, we still keep in touch and he’s as excited about photography today at 91 as he was then.
'Cat' Lew Long.jpg

Who else did you assist?
The first and only photographer I ever assisted of consequence was Lew.
He was a brilliant illustrator, with a wonderful attitude towards work and life.
He introduced me to the operation and loading of 35 and 2 1/4 cameras, the basics of printing, and darkroom 101.
Lew’s most salient gift to me however, was his adroit ability for dealing with people, clients, and talent.
Other than that, I really didn’t have a formal education in photography per se, to a great extent I learned through books, experimentation, and practice, which may account for why some of my approaches to the medium were fresh and unique.


What was your first paid photograph?
A B&W of a men’s wallet.
1959.
$7.00.
It was for Miller Advertising.

Phil Marco 'Corn', EsquirePhill Marco 'Fried Chicken', EsquirePhil Marco 'Cocktail', Esquire

As I became more involved in photography and was compelled to use it more on the job I realized that I was in awe of its ability to capture and convey ideas so rapidly and direct.
The skinny is that the excitement I began to feel about photography as a medium totally sublimated my need to paint and what initially had just been a means to an end, became an end unto itself, film became my canvas.

How did you start on your own?
A little studio on the outskirts of the Village became available, I made my move.
It was on Eleventh Street off University Place, just around the corner from the Cedar St. Bar where Jackson Pollack, Franz Kline and a number of other abstract expressionists would gather.
I later learned another of the former occupants of the studio was Robert Frank.

'The Americans' Cover, Robert Frank.pngThings were looking up.
I still painted occasionally, but it was becoming obvious that my interest in photography was taking over and growing stronger.
My first professional camera was an old 1000 F Hasselblad that I picked up in a pawn shop.
1000 F HasselbladUSA-advert.jpg
I began experimenting with color by flooding a small restaurant sink with temped water and immersed some stainless steel canisters I picked up down the Bowery, filled with various solutions of color chemistry.
The process was crude, but the results were very exciting, and genuinely inspired me to move on.
With no clients or layouts to follow, I just began to photograph simple images that inspired me. Similar to the way I approached painting.
My vision and concepts were strong, but my photographic technique left a lot to be desired.
So I continued to reference and apply the lighting and compositional skills I used in painting to photography.
I would take a simple circular form like an orange and photograph it in every conceivable light and point of view for days.Phil Marco 'Orange'Phil marco 'Potato'Phil Marco 'Papaya'
Most of my first subjects were from the grocery store, and friends, primarily because they were readily available, inexpensive, and without an hourly rate.
Concentrating on still lives however gave me the opportunity to learn how to apply light to a wide range of textures and shapes.
It also satiated my interests in science and mechanical problem solving.
As I became more proficient with my technique and began to learn how to create dramatic lighting for my concepts, the excitement I felt about photography as a medium of expression began to grow exponentially.
When I was in my early twenties I created a few dozen images that I was pleased with, and thought that it was time to go out and get clients.
'If I Grow Up' Muscular Dystrophy Association, Phil Marco.jpgPhil Marco - 'Nice Neat' Calvert

I read that when you used to tout your portfolio around agencies you would sometimes show art directors the transparencies in the loo, as they were so dark?
I came across a Milanese projector called a Farrania, which was totally self-contained in a thin black matte case.
It had a pull up arm with a lens that projected an image onto the inside cover of the case which served as a screen.
The 2  1/4 x 2  1/4 slides were then slid one at a time by hand into the gate. It also had a built-in
storage space for thirty slides. I opted to use this method of showing my work, because I couldn’t afford quality color prints, and I didn’t have any of the lush 8 x 10 transparencies that would eventually become my format of choice.
However the 2  1/4 format at the time served beautifully.
It offered quality reproduction, and a fast and economical way to capture and present visual ideas.
I read all the trade magazines and award books I could get my hands on, looking for Designers, Art Directors, and Ad Agencies whose work caught my eye, and could relate to.
So I compiled a short list, and began making phone calls. After numerous hang-ups and rejections, I finally began to get through.
Armed with twenty slides and the confidence I gained from the positive feedback I was receiving, I would do what ever was necessary to provide the best lighting conditions for the slide show,
Because if they weren’t shown in a fairly darkened room, it would be a total wash out, and any semblance of quality and color saturation would be lost.
At times I’m sure that it strained the patience of my curious, but confused audience.
I would think nothing of walking into a room, and after a brief and polite introduction quickly start running around the room closing doors and drawing blinds or drapes over windows to achieve the right light level for the show.
So if the conditions weren’t right, I just wouldn’t show them. However that was rarely the case, as I was always determined, (‘possessed’ is probably a better word), to find or create the right light level no matter what convolutions it would take.
After a number of successful showings, rumors began to abound about this young Italian kid who was going around the ad agencies with a little black box, and a bit of an attitude about not showing his work if the light in the room wasn’t just right.
The general consensus, however, was that the images were so fresh and exciting that it was well worth the initial minor annoyance.
''Ice Tongs' Coke, Phil Marco.jpg
Which agencies gave you a break?
I remember going to Doyle Dane Bernbach for the first time in the mid sixties having made an appointment with a young art director named Len Sirowitz.
The light in his room was terrible, and I was just about to pack it in, when I spotted a janitor’s closet across the hall that he reluctant climbed into with me.
After a few uneasy moments in the dark, when I began to show my slides, he was so excited about the work that he called in Bill Bernbach, who in turn called out the entire floor to line up outside the janitor’s closet.
As a result all of DDB opened up for me, Len and I also worked together on the award-winning campaign for the Better Vision Institute that became part of advertising history.
Better Vision Institute 'Needle' Len Sirowitz, DDBBetter Vision Institute 'Ears, Eyes' Len Sirowitz, DDBPhil Marco 'Grand Marnier - President'
Who were the photographers you admired most?
Well, Irving Penn, probably because of our shared sensibilities and passion for design and simplicity.Irving Penn'Red & Green Drinks'.jpgIrving Penn 'Contact'.jpg
Also impressive is the fact that he continued to evolve and produce his wonderful signature graphic images well into his 80s.
I regret that i never had the pleasure of meeting him.
Other influences were;
Edward Steichen.
'Sunflower' Edward Steichen.jpg'Pola Negri' Edward Steichen.jpgEdward Weston.'Cabbage Leaf' ' Edward Weston, 1931.jpg'Plant Field' Edward Weston.jpeg
Bill Brandt.
'NUDE-LONDON' Bill Brandt, 1952.jpg'Eye' Bill Brandt.jpg
Jan Saudek.'Toe' Jan Saudek.jpg'Cigarette' Jan Saudek.jpgRobert Frank.'Train' Robert Frank, 1984.jpg'New York City' Robert Frank, 1951.jpg
Sally Mann.'Family Picture' Sally Mann.jpg'Flower Necklace' Sally Mann*.jpg
What about artists, your lighting is very painterly?
My first and foremost influential heroes were the painters.
For lighting it would be Caravaggio.'Salome' Caravaggio.jpg'Meal' Caravaggio.jpg
Joseph Wright of Derby. 'Lighthouse' Joseph Wright of Darby.jpg'Bridge Through' Joseph Wright of Darby.jpg
Rembrandt.'Soldier' Rembrandt.jpg'An Old Man in Military Costume' Rembrandt.jpgVermeer.
'Lady Maidservant Holding Letter' ' Vermeer.jpg'Window Girl' Vermeer.jpg
For concept, it would be the Surrealists;
Magritte. 'Night:Day' Magritte.jpeg'Sunset' Magritte.jpg
Christian Vogt.'Pool' Christian Vogt.png'Beach' Christian Vogt.jpgDali.
In particular his Crucifixions.
'Crucifixion' Dali.jpg'Crucifixion 2' Dali.jpgAlso the abstracts;
Franz Kline.'2' Franz Kline.jpg'1' Franz Kline.png Robert Motherwell.'2' Robert Motherwell.jpg'1951' Robert Motherwell, .jpg
Ellsworth Kelly.'B&W' Ellsworth Kelly.jpg'Color Spectrum' Ellsworth Kelly.jpg
James Turrell.'Blue 1' James Turrell.jpg'Las Vegas' James Turrell.jpg
Who’s the best art director you ever worked with?
Again, as a Certified Anal Retentive I’m really at a loss to select the best.
There were just so many: Ralph Ammirati, Steve Frankfurt, Herb Lubalin, Lou Dorfsmen
Gene Federico, Bill Bernbach, Len Sirowitz, Herm Davis, Charlie Piccirillo, Ivan Chermayeff.
Phil Marco 'Lucien Piccard 'Block'Phil Marco 'Lucien Picard - Roll'Phil Marco 'Lucien Piccard - Hook'Phil Marco 'Lucien Piccard - Plate'Phil Marco 'Lucien Piccard - Ball'
Which English photographers do you like?
One of the English photographers I admired most was actually born in NYC, Lester Bookbinder, he moved to London in 1959.
Loved his work!
An amazing talent.Lester Bookbinder, Management Today 'Cog'**-01Lester Bookbinder, Bachelors Cigarettes - 'Barbers'-01
How do you brand these everyday objects with your stamp?
My approach to Lighting; Design; Print and Film.
My overriding goal, is to illuminate an object in such a way that it is rendered in its most beautiful and memorable form without calling attention to the lighting, composition, or props, so that nothing gets in the way of what it is you want to communicate. 
phil-marco-oil-drum-01
From the very beginning, my work has always been about the idea, the concept as the narrative. The function of lighting and technique are in a sense the subtext.
The type of light, the number of lights, and the quality of light that I use varies from project to project, depending on what aspect of the subject I want to emphasize or what emotion I’d like to evoke, but the key factor remains the same: Simplicity, the illusion of one light, one direction.Phil Marco 'Cake-Ingredients'

'Egg & Glove' Phil Marco.jpgPhil marco 'Rubber Bands'volkswagen-tablet-ddb-ny-phil-marcoWhen the brain selects a subject and positions it on the retina, its recognition is more immediate and impressive when the light that falls on that subject or scene is of a single source.
We feel most comfortable with this type of light simply because for millions of years, most of mans waking hours are lit by a single source of light, the Sun.
Simplicity is an elusive quality and definitions don’t come easily.
The word itself is a misnomer.
Phil Marco 'Babys Head'phil-marco-souffle-01Phil Marco 'Glass'In fact it’s a very complex process of editing the subject down to it’s essence, judiciously exercising restraints as to what to subtract and what to keep.
With the omission of all non-essentials, what we’re left with is a graphic statement that allows nothing to get in the way of the idea we wish to impart.
Phil Marco 'Cockroach'Phil Marco 'Pebble Nest'Phil Marco 'Leaf:Butterfly''Tommy' The Who, Phil Marco, Album Cover.jpgPhil Marco 'Stone Axe'idea-138-phil-marcophil-marco-graphis-cover-185-01phil-marco-petrolPhil Marco 'Kanon - Gimbels'Phil Marco 'Kanon - A Man Has'phil-marco-wine-wine-01Phil Marco 'Pin Cushion'Phil Marco 'Dummy'phil-marco-goldfish-glass-01Phil Marco 'Bread'Phil Marco 'Egg''Cock' Phil Marco.jpgWhy move into film?
It was gradual.
One day I thought of a great visual, and I said to myself, wow that’s a great idea!
But how do I get it to move?
I knew then that the transition was complete, and that my creative vision was now designing images in movement for maximum excitement and impact as opposed to stills.
It was also clear to me that if I wanted to achieve the expertise that I had attained in print, I had to temporarily set print aside and make a total commitment to film.
Then I made the second best move I ever made in my life, (the first being to marry her) Pat and I formed a film production company.
She’s truly an amazing person, bright, intuitive, a world-class producer, and my muse who keeps me grounded.
From the early eighties to the late nineties I was totally committed to film.
I directed hundreds of commercials, worked on features, won numerous awards, Clios & Cannes Lions.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Phil on a number of my films.
He’s a man of extraordinary talents. It seems his passion is to take an everyday object or event and show it in an entirely new and exciting way.” – Martin Scorsese.
Yeah, I formed a close working relationship with Marty, creating graphic visuals and special effects for his films including ‘The Color of Money’, ‘Casino’, ‘Kundun’, ‘Gangs of New York’,  ‘Aviator’ and some of the early title work of ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.

You got back into to stills?
Yeah, mid 90’s.
A number of agencies encouraged me to shoot the print as well as direct the television commercials for their clients, to give them a campaign signature, total visual continuity.
This eventually led to the rekindling of my love affair with print.
The Van Cleef & Arpels work I did with my old friend Gennaro Andreozzi, was a lovely body of work.
9e216174d8e611e14470295daff167dc.jpgvan-cleef-arpels-jewellery-collection-frivole-small-47148.jpg3bb91e9a4402f0f055eb32fcc5d860fa.jpgvan-cleef-arpels-cherish-small-30521.jpg

Digital: has it been good or a bad thing for photography?
Sometimes I wonder if today’s young graphic warriors realize, or can fully appreciate, how fortunate they are to have at their fingertips – literally and figuratively, all the options and wonders of today’s computer and digital technology.
I remember having to wait hours, even days for type to be released from the typesetter, in order to layout a single line of copy.
Every time I hit the dissolve key on the Avid and the dissolve morphs into place before my eyes it blows me away, because it brings to mind a time when we had to wait a day or more for the simplest dissolve to return from the labs, and if you got it back right the first time, it was a gift.
Digital’s ability to allow us to instantly review and alter or recreate a new image is one of its greatest attributes.
It’s put the creative control of the image back into the hands of the Artist.
With technological changes taking place exponentially, one can only speculate on what lies ahead.
Maybe digital will interface with lasers, allowing holograms to develop into a more controllable
medium, or harnessing brain waves so that ideas can be imprinted directly onto hard copies of any material.
It’s also plausible that many of today’s mediums will dovetail into interactive virtual environments, or merge into totally new venues.

If you had to save one sheet of film from a house fire, what would it be?
Truth be told; if I had to save one sheet of film from a house fire trying to make a selection as a certified, anal retentive dyslexic, my ass would probably go down in flames.

What are you doing today?
My primary focus has been on my personal work, and enjoying total creative freedom to experiment and develop visual ideas.
I’m also enjoying the pleasure of watching our gifted son Peter’s rise as an extremely talented pop artist.
Currently, I’m very involved in shopping for “the” gallery to represent my fine art print work and installations; Publishing a few books; and completing a Doc. about the children of the Sioux Nation in South Dakota and their tragic struggle with despair, drugs and suicide.

'Dog Eat Dog' Peter Marco.jpg'Blueberry Jam' Peter Marco.jpg
Photography wise my primary focus has been on my personal work, and enjoying total creative freedom to experiment and develop visual ideas.

Finally, are you’re still shooting?
Sure, although my visuals have bridged five decades, I’m still a work in progress, continually searching and evolving.
'Vegan's View' Phil Marco.jpg
Who knows what venues lie ahead for film and and visual media?
But for me, one thing will always remain constant:  A great Idea, and the pursuit of a strong beautiful graphic, simply stated.


H before BB.

I joined the business in 1985.
The best agency seemed to be Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
Every year ever since they’ve been in the top five,
sometimes they’ve been in the top one.
Their success has been very well documented,
what did Sir John did before that hasn’t been.
So…

Where were you brought up?
I was born in North London, although at that point Edgware wasn’t in London, it was in Middlesex, which doesn’t exist anymore.
My family was living in Collindale, but as the War was on, we were constantly being bombed out, so I lived in Golders Green, Finchley and Mill Hill.
But throughout my life I’ve gradually moved closer and closer to the centre.
I’ve never understood why people move out to the countryside as they get older; no stimulation, no people, you’ve now got all the time in the world and now have nothing to do?
I used to say my view of the countryside is that it’s full of farmers and fascists, or farmers and fox hunters, when I’m in polite company.

What was the first ad you remember seeing?
The very first ad I was aware of was for Guinness, I was about 8 years old, it was a poster, and I went back to my father and said ‘I’ve just seen a poster I don’t really understand it said “Down With Guinness”?’
He said ‘Ah, now that’s a little joke, it means drink it down, not down with Guinness’
I thought that’s quite clever.
Interesting it was a poster, I think it’s wonderful that Today posters are probably going to be one of the most powerful mediums with the change of technology and posters changing by the hour, you’ll see one for coffee driving in and the same site will be advertising a wine on the way home.

down-with-guinness-john-hegarty-01Interesting first ad, it’s quite challenging and probably difficult to sell to the client?
It was obviously bought by a very ballsy client.
I guess that kind of idea goes all the way through to ‘I’ve never read the Economist. Management Trainee, Age 42′.
It exuded confidence and that’s part of what advertising does for a brand, whatever one thinks of Apple, they ran a poster campaign about the camera that didn’t tell you how many pixels they use or that it has a Zeiss lens, they just say ‘Shot on an iPhone 6’.
You look at the picture and you go ‘Wow!’
It says everything.
A example of wonderful confidence, it shows they have such confidence in their product that they can state it their message very simply.
Great brand belief, it’s a good example of what advertising should be doing.

Why get into advertising?
I sort of went to art school at the age of 15, Saturday morning art school at Hornsey College of Art.
Hornsey Collegew of Art.jpg
It was a wonderful way of being exposed to creative career.
After a while I realised I wasn’t going to be a fantastic painter, but I met some lovely teachers, one of whom, Peter Green, said ‘You enjoy ideas John, you should study Graphic Design’.
He told me the place to do it was the London College of Printing.


Was that where you met John Gillard?
That’s right.
When I got there I discovered everyone wanted to be artists, it was all about what was the best shade of blue, I wanted to do ideas.
I just loved starting with a blank page, most of the designers simply wanted to know what words they needed to design.
There were a number of tutors there, but John was the one who talked ideas, he was the one who said that ideas were transformative.
He’d show us the work coming out of New York at the time, the great, classic Doyle Dane work at the time, this is around 1964.

Weird, I had a similar experience whilst at college.
One day the tutor said ‘We’re going to show you the work of… a bit of an oddball, he  doesn’t seem to care about typefaces and don’t get me started on his colour choices, his thing is’ she didn’t use air quotes, but she may as well have, ‘his thing is “ideas”‘.
It was Bob Gill.
Bob Gill 'Secretary'.jpgBob Gill 'U.N. Lunch'.jpg
I thought this work is amazing, funny, arresting, clever, far better the the overly worked, dull as ditch water bits of design we were usually shown.
Yeah, well his work spoke to you.

How did you switch from graphic design to advertising?
Advertising was frowned upon by the tutors running the graphic design course, they thought you’d sold your soul to the devil, despite the fact that they were training people to do pack design and stuff like that, so I had to work on advertising in my spare time.
One of the briefs they always gave the students was to redesign the Tax form, it was typography exercise really, so everyone would debate things like whether it should be sans serif because it was more modern or serif because it was more readable.
I decided the Tax form was just boring and people didn’t like it.
So I did a tax form with lots of cartoons; about money and finance, my logic was that you had to make it entertaining to carry people through it.
When I presented it they just didn’t know what to say, it was like ‘No, no, no, the purpose of the exercise was for you to redesign it’.
I’d explain that I had redesigned it, the reason to redesign it is to get people to use it, so I’d made it easier to use.
They didn’t want to know, my solution was just so off anything they wanted.
It was fascinating to me, it made me aware that these people were just talking to themselves.
Nobody gives a shit about whether it’s in Caslon, Garamond, Baskerville, sure, pick a nice typeface and make sure it’s easy to read, but there are a thousand of those, and it’s just a matter of opinion which one you go for, but what’s the idea?
Caslon isn’t an idea, it’s a typeface.
That for me was a wonderful example of where their thinking was wrong.
The question should what are we trying to do here? What’s the purpose? What are we trying to engage people with?
That’s what advertising did, and I loved it.

How did you get in?
Well, I was lucky.

I was going out with a very beautiful girl who was at the LCP for two days a week, the rest of the time she worked in the Daily Mirror Design Department.
One day I went around to see her at the Daily Mirror building in Holborn, while there I got talking to an American guy who did their posters, he was a writer, and we got chatting about me getting into advertising, he’d heard of Doyle Dane and PKL and that whole American scene.
Then he said ‘I’ve got about two years worth of old New Yorker Magazines, want them?’
I said ‘Not half’
I would literally go through page by page pulling out the great ads, and they were all there because anybody who was anybody put their ads in the New Yorker.
That was my education.
I’d literally paper the wall in all this great work, wonderful ads like ‘If they run out of Lowenbrau serve them Champagne’,  just brilliant lines and I’s stare at them and think why is that great?
Lowenbrau 'Champagne'.png

That in itself was a brilliant education.

It’s like if you were studying architecture you’d go back and look at the great work of Frank Lloyd Wright and others, and ask yourself what they were trying to achieve there?

Why do you think people don’t study advertising history like that?
We’ve always been a business obsessed with tomorrow, but it’s one of the sadnesses of our industry, creative people coming into it have no understanding of what’s gone before.
No other creative industry would operate under those circumstances.
If you studied architecture you’d absolutely know who Mies Van Der Rohe was, who Richard Rogers is, who Phillip Johnson was.
Or cinema, what makes Quentin Tarrantino, whether you like him or not, is his amazing knowledge what’s gone before him.
It’s shocking.
I can remember coming into the business and digging out all the books, The Hundred Best Ads and so on, and we’d read them from cover to cover, we were aware of what was going on and what had been going on, even though we were coming in wanting to change things for the better, we knew what had been done.
We understood where good things had been done and we’d kind of use them as a guide going forward.

So you’ve done this home course in advertising, via a hundred or so copies of the New Yorker, you then get a job at Benton & Bowles?
Yes, I got two job offers, one from Y&R for about £2,000 year, which in 1965 was a lot of money, and got an offer from Benton & Bowles for about twelve quid a week or something,
And I asked a friend who’d been ahead of me at the LCP and had since got into the industry, called Doug Maxwell, and he told me that I should take the Benton & Bowles job, as they’d just hired this very, very good art director from New York called Dan Cromer, who’d won all these gold awards at the New York Art Directors Club, and stuff like that.
He said he might change it.
So of course I get there, within two weeks of being there, the Creative head; Jack Stanley comes into my area and says ‘I’ve found a young writer for you to work with’
‘Oh ok, who’s that?’
‘His name’s Charles Saatchi.’
I thought ‘Oh no, Italian, therefore he lives at home with his mum and can’t spell. Just my luck.’
Well of course he wasn’t Italian, but he did live at home with his mum and he wasn’t very good at spelling.
At the time anyone who could vaguely string a sentence together and felt like they were pointing to the future were snapped up.
Being an art director was a definite disadvantage, you had to learn a lot about techniques and processes, all the craft aspects; if you were shooting for 65 screen, if it was four colour, today nobody gives a shit about all that, but then it took far longer to be considered an art director.
We worked together for about six or seven months, then he went off to work at Collett’s with Ross Cramer, a very good, much more senior art director. He was about 30, Charlie and I were 22 or 3.

Was he any good, this Charlie Saatchi character?
Fabulous.
He was really terrific, he had that understanding of how do we make that proposition really work?
He had a very single minded focus you need to create great work.
Very good writer.
But he had a vision of where he wanted to take the business, he was a man in a hurry, even then.
We always had a bet who was going to get to five grand a year salary first, he beat me on that.
We worked together for six or seven months, we did some very nice work, none of it ever got published though, we just weren’t taken seriously.
So that decision to go Benton & Bowles worked out, so I went there, the lesson was don’t go for the money, go for the opportunity.

But you leave?
Ultimately Benton & Bowles wasn’t a good agency.
But it was good to start there, I always felt very sorry for people who started at BBH, because they thought ‘well this is what advertising is like, people really want to buy your ideas, you’re encouraged, you’re given opportunities’.
Eventually they’ll go elsewhere and get a big shock.

I was there for about eighteen months and then got fired…
Fired? Why?
I was a pain in the arse, I kept telling them what I thought.

Back then the creative department wasn’t the most important department in the agency, it was just one of many departments, we were just considered a bunch of longhairs, people would come and brief us on what the client wanted and we’d have to argue our case.
So there was a real schism in the agency between the Creative department and the rest, Dan Cromer turned out to be a nice guy, but sadly, for me, he wasn’t strong enough to overcome that, he didn’t have the authority, he had the talent and skills, but not the authority, back then it was run by the account people.
The big debate at the time was ‘Hard Sell’ versus ‘Soft sell’, people like us were coming along saying you have to entertain people to get them to engage, which was soft sell, the hard sell view was you have to beat them over the head with repetition.
This raged until on to the mid-seventies, until Collett’s started producing all those wonderful ads like Hovis, Heineken and stuff like that.
I remember I used to have this wonderful auntie in Harpenden, she was really middle England, thought the Daily Mail was a terrific newspaper, she asked me ‘John, do you do those Hovis ads? They’re really good’.
I thought that’s it, they’ve done it, they’ve got my auntie in Harpenden.

It changed the debate on creativity, clients would go ‘wait a minute, this so-called creative stuff is really working.
Increasingly, because hard sell was based on repetition, and the cost of airtime was going up, clients couldn’t afford to run 20 spots a night.
So you had to have something different.
That’s why in my view there have only been two great advertising agencies, and that’s Doyle Dane Bernbach, because they invented modern advertising and Collett Dickenson Pearce here in London, because they took creativity to the people, they didn’t operate on the fringes, they were centre break News At Ten, Bang!
That ended the hard sell/soft sell debate, all of a sudden all these big agencies like Thompson’s suddenly thought we better start taking this creativity stuff a bit more seriously.
Today nobody uses the phrase ‘hard sell’.

So you’re fired from Benton & Bowles,
It was quite difficult, as I said before, when you’re an art director you had to do an apprenticeship, you had to be around a long time to be considered an art director, four or five years, so it was the wrong time for me to be fired, it was too early.
Anyway this offer came up, funnily enough through Ross Cramer, who said they were looking for someone to work on the the Israeli Airline El Al, so Ross said to the guy ‘You should talk to John Hegarty, he’s a terrific art director’
They called me up and I got the job.
It was a little agency on the corner of Soho Square and Greek Street, and they had two accounts; Russian precision watches, Sekonda and El Al.'We Make' Sekonda', John Hegarty, John Collings-01.jpgSekonda 'Russian Watch', John Hegarty', John Collings-01.jpg
They realised the crap that they were doing didn’t work and they needed someone to do some great work on it, and so I was hired to do it, so I was able to begin to do the kind of work I wanted to create.
Ross Crammer*-01.jpg

The first writer I worked with was a freelance guy called Dennis Hackett, who went on to be the editor of Nova, lovely guy, he wasn’t really an advertising guy, but he got it.
The very first ad we did was to run in the Jewish Chronicle, it was about El Al’s service, and Dennis wrote a headline that said ‘If you fly El Al it serves you right’.'If You Fly' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings.jpg
It was almost like that ‘Down with Guinness’ thought,
and it was the first piece of work I got into D&AD.
And I realised if you do good work, daring work, you could make a difference.
That also taught me that, despite what Collett’s were doing, sometimes you attack from the edges, you do little ads, the client may think ‘Oh, that’s rather good, I quite like that’, then they let you do the bigger ads.
After a while we were running a national campaign in the Observer, the Sunday Times and places like that for flying to Israel.
They’d been running ads done by Fletcher Forbes Gill, like ‘What’s long tall and slim and is always in the sun?’ and it was next to a photograph of a girl standing on a beach.
They were ok, but they hadn’t really made an impact.
Obviously, I knew what Doyle Dane had done in the states, so I said ‘You’ve got to sell the Bible’, that’s what makes the difference, I could go to Spain and get some sun, sunshine isn’t exclusive to Israel’.'You've Read A' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings-01.jpgSo we did a campaign using the Bible, and biblical stories that was very successful.
we had to do ads about sunshine but we did a picture of Noah holding his hand out with the line ‘Yes, it has been known to rain in Israel’.'Yes, It has been known', El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings*-01.jpgEl Al 'Founder', John Hegarty, John Collings-01'Travelling's A Whole' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings-01.jpg'The First Beach' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings.jpg-01.jpg
It was a great lesson in how you differentiate one brand from another.
El Al 'Back Home', John Hegarty, John Collings-01

How did you get this bad agency to do good work, at the age of 23?
They didn’t really know the difference.
They had a good account man there called Richard Cope, a young turk, so Richard was our ally.
What I realized was that sometimes smaller agencies have the benefit of speed, at Benton & Bowles everything took forever, it was so structured.
At a small agency you learn a lot more because you are on the front line, sometimes we didn’t have a department that did that, so you’d do it yourself.
So I learned a lot more about the business, I was also meeting clients, which was unusual at the time, account men did that, you didn’t take creatives, they might swear, but at such a small agency you are the agency, so you just did it.

I hear you wanted to bring in a new team; Charles Saatchi and Ross Cramer from Collett Dickenson Pearce?
That’s right, the agency had aspirations to embrace this exploding creative revolution, Collett’s was really starting to get momentum, Doyle Dane had opened in London, so there was a sort of vibe out there that this was going to be important, so Richard Cope had persuaded the management that for them to succeed they had to change, so there was an opportunity for John Collings.

Richard said to me we need another team, more senior than me, so I asked Ross and Charles whether they’d like to come and talk to the agency, they are trying to grow they agency?’
To cut a long story short, they joined…
Ross and Charles left the best agency in the Country to join John Collings?
Yeah.

Within about two or three months they realized this wasn’t going to work, that the management of the company didn’t want to put in the investment, they said ‘Come on, let’s all set up a creative consultancy’.
So we all left and set up Cramer Saatchi.

Initially Cramer Saatchi was working to agencies, like a freelance resource?
That was the primary source of income for us, agencies would call us up and say we have a problem with such and such an account and we need you to work on it.

Was that just the three of you?
No, at John Collings I was working with a lovely guy called Lindsey Dale, who decided he didn’t want to leave with us, so I hired a writer called Mike Coughlan.
Mike stayed for a year and a bit.

Then you hired my old boss; Chris Martin?
So there were four of us, two teams.
Then we hired Jeremy Sinclair and an art director called Bill Atherton. Then there were six.
Life was pretty simple, financially we knew we had to do a campaign every two weeks and sell it, for the agency to make money.
We were doing some direct work, like Island Records.

Did you work with Chris Blackwell? (Island Records Founder.)
I dealt with him once.
Island didn’t really want to work with a big agency, but realized they had to market their product, in all these new magazines that were starting up, like Time Out, 
so they came in to us for a meeting, with myself, Charlie and Ross.
They said ‘There’s one thing you have to understand guys; we don’t believe in hype’.
We all said ‘Absolutely, we don’t believe in it either, it doesn’t work here’.
Once they’d left, one of us turned to the other two and said ‘What’s hype?’, ‘I don’t know, I thought you knew’.
From then on but then on we’d deal with the producers of each album, they were like the clients.'A Funny Name' Island, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi-01.jpgaqualung-jethro-tull-john-hegarty-saatchi-saatchi'Electric Stoem' White Noise, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi.jpg'At Last, The' Island, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi.jpg
They were great to work with.

One of our ideas was instead of Island telling you what they felt about their album, to get reviewers to review the album, and we’d print whatever they said, good or bad it was.'Why Island Is' Island, John Hegarty, Saatch & Saatchi-01.jpgI remember a meeting with the producer Guy Stevens, a very renowned producer, he came in and said I’m starting this new band, we need to talk about how we market them, I said what are they called, ‘Mott The Hoople’ he said, ‘Trouble is they haven’t got a good singer, I’ve got two possibles, but I can’t decide who to go for…one of them is a bit odd, he won’t take his sunglasses off’.
‘Sounds interesting, why don’t you go with him?’  I said.
That was Mick Hunter.

What was life as a consultancy like?
Great, it was a real hothouse.
But eventually Charlie realised that if you didn’t own the relationship with the client you were just the hired help.
Charlie decided he wanted to have an agency, Ross decided he didn’t, he wanted to direct.
Charlie asked if I’d go with him and become a partner at the agency, he told me he was going to bring his brother with him, who was working for Haymarket magazines, in charge of business development.
I asked Charlie why Maurice; ‘He’s even younger than us, is it viable?’
He said ‘I can trust him’ and I got that.
So in 1970 Cramer Saatchi became Saatchi & Saatchi.

What was the first client, H.E.A?
It’s always been a bone of contention, because at Cramer Saatchi that was the other client, and we did some wonderful work for, the ‘Pregnant Man’ was one of them, so Charlie took it to Saatchi & Saatchi, but that account was bought in by Ross, and I think he always felt there should’ve been a bit more of an admission that he was part of this.
But that early work, the anti smoking, etc, always gets mis-credited to Saatchi & Saatchi, whereas it was Cramer Saatchi.

So your ad ‘This is what happens when a fly lands on your food’ is possibly the first ad I can remember seeing, at my doctors, my ‘Down with Guinness’, maybe because it was so unusually disgusting?
'This Is What' H.E.C. , John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi.jpg
What was great about that was that whole centre section came straight out of a pamphlet, taken wholesale, it was a very technical description, we just top and tailed it.
It’s a great example of doing your research, reading up on your subject.

I always loved that ad, because in David Ogilvy’s second book he uses that ad as an example of what you shouldn’t do; reverse out white type out of black.
A lawyer friend of mine at the time said you realise you could sue him for a lot of money for that, it’s defamation of character, and the reason you can sue is that it’s not written from an independent point of view, he was writing on behalf of Ogilvy & Mather.
I thought no, I can’t be arsed, I was rather pleased to be honest that I’d done something that David Ogilvy disapproved of.

The other H.E.C ad that doesn’t get a mention, but got a D&AD gold, the car crash ad, Is that a real road crash?
'Over Easter' H.E.C, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg
Yes, we got the picture straight from the evening Standard.In those days they would publish the road death figures after every national holiday, so we ran than just after the Easter holidays to get people to understand just how many people were dying from smoking.
Charlie said I don’t want to run ads that say ‘smoking kills’, because people think yeah, but it’ll never happen to me, or they’ll have a relative who’s 92 and smoked every day of their lives, I want to run ads that say this will happen to you,, every single cigarette you smoke is doing this to you.
That was the real skill of that campaign, that thinking lead Charlie and Ross to write ads like ‘You can’t scrub your lungs clean’ and ‘No wonder Smokers cough’.
h-e-c-cough-saatchih-e-c-scrub-saatchi
Also, remember at that point we couldn’t say ‘Smoking gives you cancer’, there wasn’t sufficient proof at that time, the cigarette companies would come after you.

I remember once giving a speech in Germany in the late eighties, and I made some comment about the illogicality of peoples choices, that they are emotional not logical.
I used the example of cigarettes and said ‘Why would anyone smoke? It kills you, it even says so on the pack’.
I came off stage and some guy came up to me and said ‘could I have a word? I’m from Phillip Morris and I just want you to know I could sue you for what you just said.’
I told him to ‘fuck off, sue me’.
But that’s how vicious those people can be.

Jeremy Sinclair -  4 stages-01The whole campaign was unusually forceful for the time?
Yes, I guess we were just applying the principles of brand advertising to cause advertising, people hadn’t really approached it in a professional way before.
There was a lovely lady who Ross got to know who Flora something, she got it, she thought yes the Government should be more effective, it should be professional, not continue in this amateurish way.
And it was very ground-breaking work.
But then the sad thing with Saatchi’s, the cynical thing, was when they ditched that and went and worked with Silk Cut.
Shame really lads.
H E A 'Smoking', John Hegarty, Saatchi'How To Catch' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Cramer Saatchi.JPG'V.D. Doesn't Always' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi-01.jpg'Children Will Try' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Cramer Saatchi.jpg'Now Wash Your' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatch-01.jpg
So you became Deputy Creative Director?
Yes, Charlie was always very nonchalant about titles, but yes he gave me that title, but I was a partner, a shareholder, which was more relevant to me than titles.
But in the end, Charlie ran it, there were no board meetings or anything like that.1973 March 2 John Hegarty

Obviously, as an agency not into hype, in 1972 a story is printed in the Sunday Times saying the creative Department has been insured for £1m?Saatchi & Saatchi Creative Dept:Sunday TimesThat was Charlie, a brilliant publicist.
We didn’t have any news at the time and creativity was starting to be more and more coveted, so Charlie and thought how do we get people to believe we had the most creative creative department?
He got an old mate to write up a policy and we had a story.
Brilliant!
Jeremy Sinclair -  Ronald Biggs-01Why leave?

Charles was starting to make decisions I wasn’t comfortable with, very close to the edge legally, taking on business where there was no opportunity to do good creative work, but he didn’t seem to mind, growth was the new obsession.
Then the TBWA thing came up.
I think Dawson Yeoman had turned it down, a lovely writer from DDB.
I was about third or fourth.
Again, I got recommended by Ross Cramer…and Alan Parker.

Did you know Bartle and Bogle, or were you thrown together?
No. Martin Denny had been hired by TBWA as their guy in London, as Chairman, and he put us all together.
It shouldn’t have worked really, but some how we worked it through.
John was the biggest hero really, he was at Cadbury’s in the Midlands, doing very well, he was very well thought of, he would definitely have ended up running Cadbury’s.

What business did you have when you opened?
None.
We were above the Saxone shoe shop off Hanover Square.
It was very tough in the beginning, trying to sell the idea of a European network to marketing directors who were more interested in what was happening in Chelmsford.

What changed?
Well, we got Ovaltine, then J&J, then Lego.
Well I guess with the Ovaltinees, the plan was always to tap into that pre-war nostalgia.
ovaltine-girlovaltine-john-hegarty-tbwaovaltinees-ovaltine-john-hegarty-tbwa

You did good creative work on each, did that help?
Not at first, often the first work you do on an account isn’t great, it could be because you don’t have time or you continue old thinking.
With Lego for example we began by doing trade ads, to the toy industry.
We decided that we shouldn’t necessarily do the traditional trade ads type ads; ‘Make money with Lego’, we thought let’s do proper ads, consumer type ads that push the benefit of Lego.
So we did ads like the ‘From little acorns grow big oak trees’.'From Little Acorns' Lego, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg
'Keep Feeding Their' Lego, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'In The Toy' Lego, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpgT
hey were very well regarded, they’d win awards at D&AD and Campaign Press, and get noticed, nobody ever said they were just trade ads, they’d say they were good ads.
They set the the tone of the consumer ads as the business grew.
But it wasn’t easy, the clients at Lego fought the against the playfulness of this kind of advertising, they wanted a more functional ‘Use it and learn’ type approach.
The way we ended up persuading the clients to go with us was to record and show them an episode of the kids show ‘Tiswas’.
They were horrified!
It was chaos, people running on and off screen, pie-ing each other, but it made our point.

You could draw a straight line from those early trade ads to the ‘Kipper’ ad, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes many years later.

Johnson Jnr?
Well the challenge was that we were given research that said every time they ran an ad with a baby in every woman engaged, the problem was that they couldn’t remember who it was for.
So we had to figure out a way of making our ads branded, which is why we came up with Johnson Jnr, with the marvelous Richard Briars doing the voiceover.
Of course there were a whole bunch of concerns about a talking baby, a man voicing a baby, etc, but it just worked.

You did some great stuff on Newsweek, I particularly love the ‘History of the World’ ad.
They were a terrific client.
Always coming to us saying we have space we need to fill in their magazine, it lead to the Guy Gladwell ad.
One of the few things I was speechless about when the painting was presented to me, in a gallery in Chiltern Street.
I bought the painting for £500.the-history-ofhow-is-china-newsweek-john-hegarty-tbwa-01'Should The World' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'How Is China' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA*.jpg
'Has The EEC' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'What You'd Need' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Does Your Newspaper'How Is China' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpgJohnnie Walker, Black Label 'Eclipse'-01'One Colour Always' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Black Is Always' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Nothing Defines Character' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA.jpg'A Little Black' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Make All Your' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpgBarney Edwards, Johnnie Walker 'North Sea', TBWA, John Hegarty-01Barney Edwards, Johnnie Walker 'North Sea', TBWA, John Hegarty *-01'A Wee Gift' Johnnie Walker, Johnnie Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg

How did you hire creatives?
I didn’t want superstars.
I didn’t want to deal with their egos and tantrums, I wanted to find people who I thought showed talent and give them a shot.
It was also partly due to circumstance, we didn’t have the kind of money Collett’s had.
Bank's, 'Simply', John Knight, TBWA-01Bank's, 'Humans', John Knight, TBWA-01Beefeater 'Alan Price'-01
Land Rover 'One Day Son...' TBWA-01Land Rover 'Creature', TBWA-01Land Rover 'Wonky Page' TBWA-01

Why leave?
We were getting frustrated with the way TBWA was run.
Globally.
They sold in this idea of giving the partners 10% of the agency in a particular country, but 1% of the global network, we were told that the 1% was worth the big money.
It sounded good.
But we found that agencies would set up in Greece or Spain that would do terribly, but the partners in that country thought ‘we’’, it’s not ideal, but not to worry, it’s the global 1% that’s worth the money’.
So there was no incentive to make their country work.
We were doing great in the U.K. at that point, and tried to argue for a change in structure.
They declined.'Designed By A' Pifco, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg
A few years later they did change it to what we’d suggested, but of course it was too late.the-news-is-now-john-hegarty-tbwa-01'The Range Rover' Range Rover, John Hegarrty, TBWA-01.jpg
Great practice?
Absolutely, we always used to say our company was in incubation at TBWA for the first 8 years.