VFTL. Episode 1: Tom McElligott

After years of being amazed at what was on the net, I’m now increasingly surprised at what’s not.
Three years ago I was trawling for a particular ad of Tom’s, not only couldn’t I find it I could barely find any of his work.
Outraged, I gathered together as much of his work as I could lay my hands on and put out a post called ‘Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Tom McElligott’.
I was trying to be snarky and ironic, like you may write ‘Hands Up Who’s Heard Of John Lennon?’.

Two things happened:

1. An enormous amount of people checked it out, 65k.
Most had never heard of him, he was being shared and referred to on Twitter and Facebook a ‘really cool pre-internet guy’.

2. A few members of his department got in touch to point out that some of the ads featured were not under Tom’s watch, they were overseen by Pat Burnham.
Then Pat Burnham emailed me; I opened it cautiously.
‘Just wanted to get in touch to say thank you, I really enjoyed your blog post, best, Pat.’

It made me feel bad.
What can I do to make amends? Interview him, I’d never done it before but it seemed like a good thing to do.

I’ve now posted about 50 interviews.

So it feels appropriate that Tom is my first podcast interview. 
He hasn’t given an interview for 25 years and said he doesn’t plan on giving one on the next 25.
I Hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I did.
(VFTL? It stands for ‘Voices From The Loft’, it’s a podcast.)

Fallon McElligott, House ad-01-01.jpg

wavelogo-7-01PRE-FALLON McELLIGOTT:fishing-is-like-elmers-minnows-tom-mcelligottron-andersonmy-minnows-will-catch-elmers-minnows-tom-mcelligottron-andersonmy-minnows-are-elmers-minnows-tom-mcelligottron-andersongulp-omaha-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01zzz-omaha-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01gulp-omaha-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01yum-omaha-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01ho-hum-omaha-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01'Do You Live' Omaha, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpgspoiler-alert-the-episcopal-church-tom-mcelligotthe-didnt-die-the-episcopal-church-tom-mcelligottron-andersonwhich-one-rose-the-episcopal-church-tom-mcelligott-bozell


LUNCH HOUR Ltd.pontillos-pizzeria-is-pontillos-tom-mcelligott-lunch-hour-ltdsims-explains-the-sims-tom-mcelligott-bozellit-may-be-sims-ltd-tom-mcelligott-bozell-01wendell-anderson-says-rudy-boschwitz-tom-mcelligott-ron-andersonbefore-you-try-ki-clayton-tom-mcelligott-lunch-hour-ltdgood-executive-material-ki-clayton-tom-mcelligott-lunch-hour-ltdmo-lebowitz-1-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01'Mo Lebowitz 2' Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg'Come See 40'  Clio, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpgwe-survived-our-mpls-magazine-tom-mcelligott-bozell-01our-food-critics-mpls-magazine-tom-mcelligott-bozell-01golf-cover-mpls-magazine-tom-mcelligott-bozell-01fridge-cover-mpls-magazine-tom-mcelligott-bozell-01'My Boss Cover' MPLS Magazine, Tom McElligott, Bozell-01.jpg


in-1941-you-waited-northwestern-bell-tom-mcelligott-ron-anderson-bozell-01'Unfortunately If You' Northwestern Bell, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg'If Your Child' Northwestern Bell, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg'It Takes Two*' Northwestern Bell, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg

'It's Halftime At' Mini Mart, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg'Standing In Line' Mini Mart, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg'This Ad Is' Carousel, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg'Up Until Now' Carousel, Tom McElligott, Ron Anderson, Bozell-01.jpg

FALLON McELLLIGOTT:Fallon McElligott, House ad-01Fallon McElligott, 7th South 'Nixon'-01Fallon McElligott, 7th South 'Medussa'-01Fallon McElligott 'Einstein'-01Fallon McElligott 'Coin'-01Fallon McElligott 'Bride Of Frankenstein' -01Fallon McElligott '£ Stooges'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Son of'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'TV'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopal 'Carson'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopal, 'Taped'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Lions'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopalian 'Bomb' -01Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian 'Cake'-01Fallon McElligott, Episcopelian, 'Strong Men'-01if-you-want-successful-farming-tom-mcelligott-fallon-mcelligott-01only-two-things-successful-farming-tom-mcelligott-fallon-mcelligott-01Come The End' Successful Farming, Tom McElligott, Fallon McElligott-01.jpgeven-the-pigs-successful-farming-tom-mcelligott-fallon-mcelligott-01Fallon McElligott, AMF 'add 2lbs'-01Fallon McElligott, AMF 'Handles'-01

There is more of Tom’s Fallon McElligott and post-Fallon McElligott at a previous post here: https://davedye.com/tag/tom-mcelligott/

22 thoughts on “VFTL. Episode 1: Tom McElligott

  1. Not knowing who Tom is, is like not being able to write long copy or scamp up an ad.

    Unthinkable, yet seemingly acceptable.

    Thanks for another fantastic post.

    • Thanks Mick,
      To be fair to those who hadn’t heard of Tom, he left the business 25 years ago, they probably alsoi haven’t heard of Boyz II Men, Sir Mix-a-Lot and Right Said Fred either.

  2. …thanks for that Dave.
    To us Fallon McElligott was the benchmark when we set up Simons Palmer DENTON blah & blah back in ’88.
    I remember having all of their big award winners printed out and up on the walls of our first office.
    We followed their lead and tried doing press ads for our favourite sandwich shop and a local magazine but of course our ads didn’t compare to theirs and disappeared without a trace (it really is harder than it looks kids).
    Seeing all that work again has put me in the mood to set up a new agency…have I left it too late?

  3. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
    When I was a student, I remember regularly going to my local library and hoarding all the advertising award annuals for myself. Luckily, some smart person thought that purchasing D&AD and One Show annuals was a good idea (especially considering the fact that I came from a town with hardly any advertising agencies in it).
    After consistently coming across his work in the One Show annuals, Tom became the first writer that I became a fan of (the second being David Abbot). I spent many hours in that library, head down squinting closely at the pages of those annuals attempting to read the tiny copy that Tom wrote in a desperate attempt to learn (and hopefully emulate) his craft.
    I learnt a lot. I failed to emulate. But I still love his work.
    What a legacy.

  4. Pingback: Tom McElligott: ‘really cool pre-internet guy’ in a post-copywriting world. | Time Machine

  5. What a wonderful interview. It was great hearing Tom’s voice again. I do miss him and my days working for him in that blue octagon on Fourth Ave South. I learned everything from him. I hope he is happy. It sure sounds like he is.

  6. Smart guy. Great talent. I’m lucky I got to work with Tom early in my career. It was a pleasure to hear his voice again.

  7. What a treat. I got into the business because of Tom and his great agency. That simple. I thought I could die a happy man if I could somehow get hired as a writer there. In my second year in the business, that dream came true. The only problem–Tom had just left the agency and I wouldn’t get a chance to work with, or meet my hero. In a small way, this interview makes up for it. Thank you, Dave!

  8. Listening to this made my day. Thanks for all your efforts to make it happen, Dave. It was wonderful to hear Tom’s voice and laughter. The legacy of Tom and Pat Fallon makes one proud to be a native Minnesotan. It was my good fortune to be a Fallonite from 1984-1997. Best gig ever.

  9. Great to hear a fellow Fargo-native tell his story of the 80’s and 90’s adworld. I was a graphic designer and ad guy during his heyday and loved the Minneapolis School of Advertising style. He inspired many folks in his hometown (and the rest of the world) to go into advertising and do good work. I think his style could come back into vogue for select audiences of intelligent brands. I’m banking on it. Thanks for the wonderful interview of one of my heroes. So cool to hear he’s a happy camper in the end.

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