Oct 27, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: Imagine

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

In the middle of May, I received an email from my friend, the great DDB Art Director, Bob Matsumoto.* He told me about his year-long project as Chairmain of a momentous advertising event: A 60s Doyle Dane Bernbach- New York Reunion. It was for writers and art directors of those halcyon days only and would take place June 1st in the DDB-NY offices on the Corporate Floor. (Makes The Brief breathless just writing about it.) 

120 advertising greats had already RSVP’d, and all were flying from here and taxi-ing from there, anticipating seeing one another again for nostalgia and laughs. What they went home with instead was a huge emotional experience…

The Brief thought you might like to be a fly on the wall. 

Bob Matsumoto sets the scene: ”Imagine getting together after 40 years with people you worked with all those years ago, those who mentored everyone - just imagine all the respect and feelings throughout the crowded rooms - because of what everyone accomplished in their careers?

In the big Boardroom, there were huge wall murals/ graphics of the classic ads, an hour-long loop of everyone’s ads and commercials which ran on two screens; there were photographs of everyone as they looked in the 1960s, and even a documentary was being filmed.”

Your browser may not support display of this image. 

The Brief can only imagine, but the great Howie Cohen was there. With Cohen’s permission to reprint from his blog, MadMensch.com, The Brief has excerpted the following.*

“…I couldn’t wait. I actually began my career as a 22-year old copy trainee at Doyle Dane Bernbach working on the legendary VW Beetle account. In a real sense, I would be returning to the place of my birth – in advertising.

There, before me, were all the greats.

Over there was Bob Levenson, the genius writer and creative director who gave Volkswagen its voice and set the standard for cleverness at DDB. He’s also the guy who approved the first ad I ever got produced (for Volkswagen) after only my 9th try.*

Over there was the legendary George Lois, looking a little older and balder, but still full of it – energy, that is.

Standing in the corner was Charlie Moss, or “Boss Moss”, as we used to call him. A DDB alumnus, he went on to become creative director of Wells, Rich, Greene. I worked for Charlie for many years at Wells in New York and LA, and considered him a great mentor.

In fact, Charlie was the guy who assigned Bob Pasqualina and me to the Alka Seltzer account (albeit as the third backup team) and who gave the nod to “Try it, you’ll like it” and “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing,” Clio Hall of Famers that changed our lives. We shared funny memories.

Standing next to Charlie was George Gomes, a former DDB art director who made the switch to become a top commercial director. He was our director on the Alka Seltzer campaign, and we always appreciated his special gift for getting humorous performances out of actors – after only 64 takes.

And all over the room were the people I used to rub shoulders with in the halls of DDB: Len Sirowitz, Sid Meyers, Bob Reitzfeld, Mike Mangano, Mike Lawlor, Bob Matsumoto, Bob Kuperman – great creatives who helped change the look and the language of advertising.

We talked, we drank, we schmoozed. And then the lights went down and a special video came up.

It began with a scene from Mad Men. The guys from Sterling Cooper are sitting around looking at an issue of Life Magazine and discussing a full page ad for Volkswagen with the irreverent headline, “Lemon.” They question it, they mock it, they trash it.

“Why would anyone pay money to say something negative about their own car?”

Someone offers up, “Wasn’t that done by that guy Bernbach?” To which someone adds, “He’s a Jew, isn’t he?” Big laugh from our crowd.

The scene ends with Don Draper saying, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but we’ve been talking about it for 45 minutes.” It was the perfect exclamation point, and a tribute to the riveting work that defined Doyle Dane Bernbach.

Then came the emotional part. Appearing on the screen, one-by-one, were the young, wide-eyed faces of us – the people who made it to the reunion, as well as the greats who are no longer with us.

A rich orchestral score gave poignancy to the images. And when the final face faded out, a simple two word super came up: ”Welcome home.”

That’s when the tears flowed. I know I wasn’t the only one.

The people in that room were responsible for changing advertising forever. Volkswagen “Think small”, Avis “We Try Harder”, Levy’s Rye Bread “You don’t have to be Jewish to Love Levy’s,” Mobil “We want you to live” and Ohrbach’s and Polaroid and Alka Seltzer… I could go on.*

The amazing thing was, the brilliant minds behind these campaigns didn’t have a creative road map. No creative history to build on. No awards books to steal from. They were making it up out of their heads. That’s the definition of “breakthrough.” Never been done. Never seen or heard of before. Just true original genius.

The party had begun at 3 in the afternoon and by 6:45 it was winding down… It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A chance to be close, once more (and maybe for the last time) with the people we grew up with in advertising. The very people who changed the creative landscape and helped make the golden era golden.” *

Untitled1

The Brief hopes you enjoyed attending this DDB/60s reunion by proxy as much as I did. As I was just a measly assistant to the producers AT DDB/L.A. in the mid-70s , (and only spliced together 35mm presentation reels and radio tapes from New York and Los Angeles’ best of the best commercials,) Matsumoto reminded me that I wasn’t welcome at this reunion. Not for anyone who wasn’t “THERE”. So many thanks to my friend, Bob Matsumoto, Chairman, for sharing his event with The Brief. Thank you to Howie Cohen of madmensch.com for letting me botch up his blog. Please read it in its entirety.

And, if you’re anything like me, and you sometimes feel like filling the well with riches from the past, remember this: Great ideas do not die, they live on youtube.

SOURCES of INSPIRATION FROM PERSPIRATION

  • The Committee of 5 responsible for the DDB-60s reunion include: Bob Matsumoto; Domenick Marino; Deanna Cohen Drew; Jackie End, and Andy Langer.
  • As the Chairman, and of the program, Matsumoto showed the clip from Mad Men talking about the VW Lemon ad and the reference to the “Jew Bernbach”
  • Read Bob Levinson’s “Bill’s Book” dedicated to Bill Bernbach.
  • Though Phyllis Robinson died at 89, she was responsible for some of the legendary work of that era you can enjoy here: http://www.ddb.com/ddblogs/creativity/thank-you-phyllis-robinson.html
  • Some DDB serendipity care of Bob Matsumoto: 62 years ago, on the exact day of this reunion, June 1st, Doyle Dane Bernbach opened their offices in a walk-up building with 10 employees and $500 thousand worth of billings. Just a couple of blocks south of 437 Madison Aveune where they prosper today.
  • Bill Bernbach would be 100 years old this year.

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: Imagine

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

In the middle of May, I received an email from my friend, the great DDB Art Director, Bob Matsumoto.* He told me about his year-long project as Chairmain of a momentous advertising event: A 60s Doyle Dane Bernbach- New York Reunion. It was for writers and art directors of those halcyon days only and would take place June 1st in the DDB-NY offices on the Corporate Floor. (Makes The Brief breathless just writing about it.) 

120 advertising greats had already RSVP’d, and all were flying from here and taxi-ing from there, anticipating seeing one another again for nostalgia and laughs. What they went home with instead was a huge emotional experience…

The Brief thought you might like to be a fly on the wall. 

Bob Matsumoto sets the scene: ”Imagine getting together after 40 years with people you worked with all those years ago, those who mentored everyone - just imagine all the respect and feelings throughout the crowded rooms - because of what everyone accomplished in their careers?

In the big Boardroom, there were huge wall murals/ graphics of the classic ads, an hour-long loop of everyone’s ads and commercials which ran on two screens; there were photographs of everyone as they looked in the 1960s, and even a documentary was being filmed.”

Your browser may not support display of this image. 

The Brief can only imagine, but the great Howie Cohen was there. With Cohen’s permission to reprint from his blog, MadMensch.com, The Brief has excerpted the following.*

“…I couldn’t wait. I actually began my career as a 22-year old copy trainee at Doyle Dane Bernbach working on the legendary VW Beetle account. In a real sense, I would be returning to the place of my birth – in advertising.

There, before me, were all the greats.

Over there was Bob Levenson, the genius writer and creative director who gave Volkswagen its voice and set the standard for cleverness at DDB. He’s also the guy who approved the first ad I ever got produced (for Volkswagen) after only my 9th try.*

Over there was the legendary George Lois, looking a little older and balder, but still full of it – energy, that is.

Standing in the corner was Charlie Moss, or “Boss Moss”, as we used to call him. A DDB alumnus, he went on to become creative director of Wells, Rich, Greene. I worked for Charlie for many years at Wells in New York and LA, and considered him a great mentor.

In fact, Charlie was the guy who assigned Bob Pasqualina and me to the Alka Seltzer account (albeit as the third backup team) and who gave the nod to “Try it, you’ll like it” and “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing,” Clio Hall of Famers that changed our lives. We shared funny memories.

Standing next to Charlie was George Gomes, a former DDB art director who made the switch to become a top commercial director. He was our director on the Alka Seltzer campaign, and we always appreciated his special gift for getting humorous performances out of actors – after only 64 takes.

And all over the room were the people I used to rub shoulders with in the halls of DDB: Len Sirowitz, Sid Meyers, Bob Reitzfeld, Mike Mangano, Mike Lawlor, Bob Matsumoto, Bob Kuperman – great creatives who helped change the look and the language of advertising.

We talked, we drank, we schmoozed. And then the lights went down and a special video came up.

It began with a scene from Mad Men. The guys from Sterling Cooper are sitting around looking at an issue of Life Magazine and discussing a full page ad for Volkswagen with the irreverent headline, “Lemon.” They question it, they mock it, they trash it.

“Why would anyone pay money to say something negative about their own car?”

Someone offers up, “Wasn’t that done by that guy Bernbach?” To which someone adds, “He’s a Jew, isn’t he?” Big laugh from our crowd.

The scene ends with Don Draper saying, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but we’ve been talking about it for 45 minutes.” It was the perfect exclamation point, and a tribute to the riveting work that defined Doyle Dane Bernbach.

Then came the emotional part. Appearing on the screen, one-by-one, were the young, wide-eyed faces of us – the people who made it to the reunion, as well as the greats who are no longer with us.

A rich orchestral score gave poignancy to the images. And when the final face faded out, a simple two word super came up: ”Welcome home.”

That’s when the tears flowed. I know I wasn’t the only one.

The people in that room were responsible for changing advertising forever. Volkswagen “Think small”, Avis “We Try Harder”, Levy’s Rye Bread “You don’t have to be Jewish to Love Levy’s,” Mobil “We want you to live” and Ohrbach’s and Polaroid and Alka Seltzer… I could go on.*

The amazing thing was, the brilliant minds behind these campaigns didn’t have a creative road map. No creative history to build on. No awards books to steal from. They were making it up out of their heads. That’s the definition of “breakthrough.” Never been done. Never seen or heard of before. Just true original genius.

The party had begun at 3 in the afternoon and by 6:45 it was winding down… It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A chance to be close, once more (and maybe for the last time) with the people we grew up with in advertising. The very people who changed the creative landscape and helped make the golden era golden.” *

Untitled1

The Brief hopes you enjoyed attending this DDB/60s reunion by proxy as much as I did. As I was just a measly assistant to the producers AT DDB/L.A. in the mid-70s , (and only spliced together 35mm presentation reels and radio tapes from New York and Los Angeles’ best of the best commercials,) Matsumoto reminded me that I wasn’t welcome at this reunion. Not for anyone who wasn’t “THERE”. So many thanks to my friend, Bob Matsumoto, Chairman, for sharing his event with The Brief. Thank you to Howie Cohen of madmensch.com for letting me botch up his blog. Please read it in its entirety.

And, if you’re anything like me, and you sometimes feel like filling the well with riches from the past, remember this: Great ideas do not die, they live on youtube.

SOURCES of INSPIRATION FROM PERSPIRATION

  • The Committee of 5 responsible for the DDB-60s reunion include: Bob Matsumoto; Domenick Marino; Deanna Cohen Drew; Jackie End, and Andy Langer.
  • As the Chairman, and of the program, Matsumoto showed the clip from Mad Men talking about the VW Lemon ad and the reference to the “Jew Bernbach”
  • Read Bob Levinson’s “Bill’s Book” dedicated to Bill Bernbach.
  • Though Phyllis Robinson died at 89, she was responsible for some of the legendary work of that era you can enjoy here: http://www.ddb.com/ddblogs/creativity/thank-you-phyllis-robinson.html
  • Some DDB serendipity care of Bob Matsumoto: 62 years ago, on the exact day of this reunion, June 1st, Doyle Dane Bernbach opened their offices in a walk-up building with 10 employees and $500 thousand worth of billings. Just a couple of blocks south of 437 Madison Aveune where they prosper today.
  • Bill Bernbach would be 100 years old this year.

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: Imagine

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

In the middle of May, I received an email from my friend, the great DDB Art Director, Bob Matsumoto.* He told me about his year-long project as Chairmain of a momentous advertising event: A 60s Doyle Dane Bernbach- New York Reunion. It was for writers and art directors of those halcyon days only and would take place June 1st in the DDB-NY offices on the Corporate Floor. (Makes The Brief breathless just writing about it.) 

120 advertising greats had already RSVP’d, and all were flying from here and taxi-ing from there, anticipating seeing one another again for nostalgia and laughs. What they went home with instead was a huge emotional experience…

The Brief thought you might like to be a fly on the wall. 

Bob Matsumoto sets the scene: ”Imagine getting together after 40 years with people you worked with all those years ago, those who mentored everyone - just imagine all the respect and feelings throughout the crowded rooms - because of what everyone accomplished in their careers?

In the big Boardroom, there were huge wall murals/ graphics of the classic ads, an hour-long loop of everyone’s ads and commercials which ran on two screens; there were photographs of everyone as they looked in the 1960s, and even a documentary was being filmed.”

Your browser may not support display of this image. 

The Brief can only imagine, but the great Howie Cohen was there. With Cohen’s permission to reprint from his blog, MadMensch.com, The Brief has excerpted the following.*

“…I couldn’t wait. I actually began my career as a 22-year old copy trainee at Doyle Dane Bernbach working on the legendary VW Beetle account. In a real sense, I would be returning to the place of my birth – in advertising.

There, before me, were all the greats.

Over there was Bob Levenson, the genius writer and creative director who gave Volkswagen its voice and set the standard for cleverness at DDB. He’s also the guy who approved the first ad I ever got produced (for Volkswagen) after only my 9th try.*

Over there was the legendary George Lois, looking a little older and balder, but still full of it – energy, that is.

Standing in the corner was Charlie Moss, or “Boss Moss”, as we used to call him. A DDB alumnus, he went on to become creative director of Wells, Rich, Greene. I worked for Charlie for many years at Wells in New York and LA, and considered him a great mentor.

In fact, Charlie was the guy who assigned Bob Pasqualina and me to the Alka Seltzer account (albeit as the third backup team) and who gave the nod to “Try it, you’ll like it” and “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing,” Clio Hall of Famers that changed our lives. We shared funny memories.

Standing next to Charlie was George Gomes, a former DDB art director who made the switch to become a top commercial director. He was our director on the Alka Seltzer campaign, and we always appreciated his special gift for getting humorous performances out of actors – after only 64 takes.

And all over the room were the people I used to rub shoulders with in the halls of DDB: Len Sirowitz, Sid Meyers, Bob Reitzfeld, Mike Mangano, Mike Lawlor, Bob Matsumoto, Bob Kuperman – great creatives who helped change the look and the language of advertising.

We talked, we drank, we schmoozed. And then the lights went down and a special video came up.

It began with a scene from Mad Men. The guys from Sterling Cooper are sitting around looking at an issue of Life Magazine and discussing a full page ad for Volkswagen with the irreverent headline, “Lemon.” They question it, they mock it, they trash it.

“Why would anyone pay money to say something negative about their own car?”

Someone offers up, “Wasn’t that done by that guy Bernbach?” To which someone adds, “He’s a Jew, isn’t he?” Big laugh from our crowd.

The scene ends with Don Draper saying, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but we’ve been talking about it for 45 minutes.” It was the perfect exclamation point, and a tribute to the riveting work that defined Doyle Dane Bernbach.

Then came the emotional part. Appearing on the screen, one-by-one, were the young, wide-eyed faces of us – the people who made it to the reunion, as well as the greats who are no longer with us.

A rich orchestral score gave poignancy to the images. And when the final face faded out, a simple two word super came up: ”Welcome home.”

That’s when the tears flowed. I know I wasn’t the only one.

The people in that room were responsible for changing advertising forever. Volkswagen “Think small”, Avis “We Try Harder”, Levy’s Rye Bread “You don’t have to be Jewish to Love Levy’s,” Mobil “We want you to live” and Ohrbach’s and Polaroid and Alka Seltzer… I could go on.*

The amazing thing was, the brilliant minds behind these campaigns didn’t have a creative road map. No creative history to build on. No awards books to steal from. They were making it up out of their heads. That’s the definition of “breakthrough.” Never been done. Never seen or heard of before. Just true original genius.

The party had begun at 3 in the afternoon and by 6:45 it was winding down… It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A chance to be close, once more (and maybe for the last time) with the people we grew up with in advertising. The very people who changed the creative landscape and helped make the golden era golden.” *

Untitled1

The Brief hopes you enjoyed attending this DDB/60s reunion by proxy as much as I did. As I was just a measly assistant to the producers AT DDB/L.A. in the mid-70s , (and only spliced together 35mm presentation reels and radio tapes from New York and Los Angeles’ best of the best commercials,) Matsumoto reminded me that I wasn’t welcome at this reunion. Not for anyone who wasn’t “THERE”. So many thanks to my friend, Bob Matsumoto, Chairman, for sharing his event with The Brief. Thank you to Howie Cohen of madmensch.com for letting me botch up his blog. Please read it in its entirety.

And, if you’re anything like me, and you sometimes feel like filling the well with riches from the past, remember this: Great ideas do not die, they live on youtube.

SOURCES of INSPIRATION FROM PERSPIRATION

  • The Committee of 5 responsible for the DDB-60s reunion include: Bob Matsumoto; Domenick Marino; Deanna Cohen Drew; Jackie End, and Andy Langer.
  • As the Chairman, and of the program, Matsumoto showed the clip from Mad Men talking about the VW Lemon ad and the reference to the “Jew Bernbach”
  • Read Bob Levinson’s “Bill’s Book” dedicated to Bill Bernbach.
  • Though Phyllis Robinson died at 89, she was responsible for some of the legendary work of that era you can enjoy here: http://www.ddb.com/ddblogs/creativity/thank-you-phyllis-robinson.html
  • Some DDB serendipity care of Bob Matsumoto: 62 years ago, on the exact day of this reunion, June 1st, Doyle Dane Bernbach opened their offices in a walk-up building with 10 employees and $500 thousand worth of billings. Just a couple of blocks south of 437 Madison Aveune where they prosper today.
  • Bill Bernbach would be 100 years old this year.

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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