Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good Morning

Came across this on Facebook, last week.

It was painted by advertising legend Bob Kuperman. Bob is also a great former boss. I don’t use that word too often, but in this case it is warranted because Bob has what so many agency leaders lack – conviction.

I remember being holed up on the 38th floor of the Chiat offices in lower Manhattan. It was a cold March night and the planners had just returned from a focus group with some very bad news. They said our “Yellow” ABC campaign, which we were about to present to Bob Iger and his head honchos the very next day, failed miserably in groups.

People didn’t like it. Correction, people hated it. Which in retrospect, is why Kupe loved it. The campaign had a point of view.

Bob told the planners to shitcan their part of the presentation and have a muffin while we worked out the final details of the pitch. We won the account. And the trajectory of my career changed forever. I’m not sure if that kind gutsy call gets made at agencies anymore, but it should.

Back to the painting.

These two lovely ladies reminded me of the Jehovah Witnesses that knock on our doors about three times a year. I might not care for their message but I do love the messengers. They come in very large groups and slowly walk up and down our street with an unusual grace and a quiet confidence.

When they come to my door I usually point out our mezzuza and tell them, “we’re all good in the faith department.” They smile, bless my family and I, and happily go on their way as if I had signed on for the cause. There’s never any cajoling. There’s only courtesy, sugar coated with more courtesy.

That’s how I like my religious extremists.

They have conviction. And they have manners.

2 comments:

Pete said...

when i started as a receptionist at chiat, kupe scared the shit out of me.

it was my first real job and here was this president of a company, screaming his head off, cursing more than i did, and carrying a golf club to make his point emphatically.

but over the three or so years i worked there, kupe grew on me in a way that i miss dearly today. he spoke honestly and openly. not intending to offend, but also not protecting your feelings. he treated people like adults. in today's agency world, HR would camp outside of his office, waiting patiently like a cop hiding behind the old billboard, waiting to bust speeders.

i wonder, has painting mellowed kupe? or does he bellow at the canvas the way i remember him shouting amy miano's name across the agency.

i think i just made myself pee my pants a little bit.

Mark said...

I'm a big Kupe fan myself. Except for the time he told me I wasn't going to be in a presentation so I went outside and got stoned. When I came back in he told me he changed his mind and I was in the presentation.