Archive | A Mad Life in Advertising

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Unbelieveable (some believeable) confessions from one of the Maddest of the Mad Men.

Upbeat Days Down Under …

(Note: These will be tales of Mad Ave and Melbourne initiated by a David Mattingly and his associates, Monahan, Dayman and (especially) Philip Adams. They will be  spiced by “heroic” stories of the Great Barrier Reef.) I first met my Australia “connection” in my office at 919 Third Avenue in NYC, home of Jack Byrne [...]

11,243 Wash and Wear Suits

Only in New York could you find a full-page newspaper ad for a men’s retail store showing a laundromat full of half-dressed men playing chess, and it took Steve Baker and Jack Byrne to dream it up as part of a campaign targeted at creating a new Barney’s after they joined Mogul Williams and Saylor [...]

Barneys’ Satyrs in the New York Times

Jack Byrne and his partner Steve Baker in Mogul Baker Byrne Weiss totally transformed the store’s advertising approach to upgrade Barney’s Men’s Store image with unorthodox and inspirational messages such as this full-page ad in The New York Times comprised of ten words and two Satyrs. The words? ” Seventh Avenue and Seventeenth Street. Where [...]

The birth of Gimbels Market East.

In 1977, a radio barrage featuring the “Busy Bs” (Jack, Christian and 3-yr old ‘KD’ Byrne) created the biggest store opening in history. (See banner photo). This  will be story of Jack (with a little help from his family) and Gimbels. 31 Opening _My Birthday_ 32 Opening 36 Opening Interviews 4

Joe Namath, Tom Jones and me …

In early 1970, the new advertising agency, Jack Byrne Advertising, moved from its temporary quarters at the Shelton Towers Hotel to 770 Lexington Avenue, between East 60th and East 61st Streets.  One of the benefits of this move was that JBA was now located but one block from Bachelor’s III which had been my favorite haunt from the [...]

“Inproooo…In-corp-or-ated!”

This is the story of acquiring a major project from AT&T and The Bell System (pre-breakup) and the partnerships that were made and broken and the money that was made by all. Project launched AT&T machine-to-machine communications fore-running a hundreds-of-billion-dollar annual business. In 1962, after a decade of clearing my future path through the woods of six advertising [...]

I’ll Take Manhattan Everytime…

Early in 1983, my partner, Jim Fischbach, and I had just about given up hope for the success of, or even the continuation of,  our new enterprise, CARMA (Casino and Restaurant Marketing Associates). Our big client for whom we were contracted to reposition, redesign and market five casino hotels in Las Vegas (including The Silverbird, the Silver Nugget and the [...]

Just Wear a Smile and a ………

In 1961, I was hired by a small but ferociously creative agency named Hockaday Associates, headed by Margaret Hockaday and employees who called themselves “Hockadaisies”. I was hired to help to bring a “Big Agency Image” and “Masculinity” to help solicit an enormous client for the Hockadaisies, bigger in gross annual income than the total [...]

“A JING IS A JOY IN SAVING!”

Harold Smith, a top buyer for Robert Hall, had left the dying company and decided to open his own chain of women’s specialty shops in the growing market of the middle south. He planned to call them JONNA’S, an anagram of his two daughter’s names. And, he called me and pleaded for Jack Byrne Advertising [...]

How to Make Money Without Really Trying.

All right, Class, settle down. Here is the key question on your final exam in Advertising 101: What is the single most important contractual factor in assuring, from the agency’s point of view, that a satisfactory agency/client relationship will exist? No, it’s not the “duration of the contract”. It’s not the “stipulations” of responsibilities. It’s [...]

Don’t Go to Work Today.

In 1970, the New York City economy was not so hot and getting colder and the menswear industry was colder than that. Denim was hot, but tailored clothing was not, thanks to the upward spiraling influence of the freedom-loving Baby Boomers. To add to the industry’s problems, its half-hearted attempts to establish designer names as [...]

BS from B&S.

BS from B&S. My first job after graduating from Columbia College in ’49 was with Procter and Gamble as a merchandiser and salesman. That lasted a year. I didn’t have the P&G family spirit. My next step was to attend the NYU Summer Television Workshop. I felt my future would hold the most promise in [...]

You’ve Got to Know Your Bees.

In marketing circles, they say Manufacturing is “Strategic” and Retailing is “Tactical”. That makes sense. GM sets the long-term goals in product, markets and pricing and provides the advertising cover barrage under which its dealers fight the regional battles and the day-to-day skirmishes in the daily newspapers, using the most localized weapons such as price [...]

Even Then He Knew…

Jack Byrne Advertising was new, hot, and the talk of both the 6:05 and the 7:02 New Haven RR commuter bar cars if not the town. In less than 6 months from its opening on January 1, 1970, it had nailed the biggest plum in food marketing, the Bonus Gifts Coupons account, incorporating funds from [...]

The Greatest Little Coupon in the World.

OK. Here’s a problem for you. It’s March 1970. Your new agency is two months old. You have left your partners at Griswold Eshleman Baker & Byrne, New York and Cleveland. Former partners (Charlie Farran, Jim Johnston, Sidney Matthew Weiss, Milton Guttenplan, Perry Brand, and Norman Cohen) were all behind you now. From the beginning [...]

It’s not Hanes until…

Everybody in the business of new business solicitation has a story to tell, often tragic, often comic, often both. But, my $100 bill is put aside for anyone who can tell one any wilder than the one I am about to narrate. Let me first set the stage. In April of 1962, a lanky Hungarian [...]