Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mercurial Rising

I went into a panic last week when I couldn't locate the many Mac photo books I've made over the years. In addition to clever little quips I've written, these books are the only tangible collection of my family's photos. I don't know about you but I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to saving, archiving and duplicating the thousands of photos we have amassed over the years.

While ripping apart the bookshelves, I found this gem.

For those not in-the-know, this little red book was handed to every new employee who joined the ranks of Chiat/Day. It's chock full of quotations from the agency's namesake, Jay Chiat.

Before I share some of these classic nuggets, I'd like to share some of the uncanny parallels of Jay's life and mine.

We both were born in the Bronx, NY.
We both are of Russian/Polish/Jewish heritage.
We both worked as a short order cook.
We both started in the advertising business as a mailroom clerk.
We both began our lives as a copywriter writing shitty recruitment ads (you might know them as Help Wanted Ads.)
And we both worked at Chiat/Day, where we became filthy, dirty rich.
Ok, this is where our lives took different paths.

I met Jay once.

We shook hands, in the men's room, on my third day at the agency. So I don't have any interesting stories to tell on that front. But reading these fortune cookie maxims does give you a good idea about the man.

"We had an unlimited budget and we exceeded it."

"I'm not yelling at you. I'm yelling at the situation."

"Yes I'm happy. I'm just not happy enough."

Of course, all this was said and written in a different time. When advertising was simpler. When craftsmanship stood for something. When Jay guarded the gate and looked at everything before it went out the door.

But I'd pay good money to see and hear Jay operate in today's facacta advertising environment.

"Two million Facebook likes? That and four bucks will get you a cup of coffee."


george tannenbaum said...

This is one of your best posts yet.

Rich Siegel said...

Thanks George.