October 16, 2014

Bonnie Lunt

I leave you alone for FIVE seconds!

One of the dumbest rumors I've heard recently is that Bonnie Lunt is dead. This is so not true. She is on her way to Ecuador doing good works for her charity.

I have no ideas where this rumor got started. She DID retire a couple of years ago, but let's face it, she helped so many of us, she deserves a rest. This rumor is just dumb.

I assure you, she is still very active. But her focus now is on the children of Ecuador, not you.

September 24, 2014

Print Production. NY. 1980s. A reunion.


I live in upstate New York now (near Woodstock), so for me to drive into the city is a rare event.

I recently coerced Peter Franke and Scott Salmon into buying me lunch, which I insisted must include a steak with Bernaise sauce.

Pete led us to Palm West. He's such a regular, he has his face painted on the wall. (Apparently, there are FOUR Palm restaurants in NY. Peter's face is cartooned, I'm told, in three of them. In this photo, look at the top row.

Pete still works in print production, for an agency that is a division of Publicis. Scott is the general manager of the Manhattan Plaza Health Club.

They are great, good friends. For more than 30 years!

August 06, 2014

Steve Hayden


In my formative years at Chiat/Day, one of the gods of the company was Steve Hayden. I believe (and Steve, correct me if I am wrong) he wrote the famous Apple Super Bowl ad for the introduction of the Macintosh.

He went on to become the grand-poohbah of Ogilvy. I still wonder if he ever quit smoking, which was his great vice. Hey, like I should talk. My favorite memories of Steve are from the Biltmore Hotel days. He and I and Susie Vye (his girlfriend) and whatever rapscallions we could gather together at the time would go downstairs and would run up bar bills that would exceed the national Gross National Product of many countries.

He was (and is) always nice to me.

He had some medical problems recently. Arthritis. Bone spurs. Hospital time.

I have met so many amazing people in my life. Steve is one of them.

Jessica Edelstein

Jessica Edelstein.jpg
I received the most wonderful email this afternoon from Jessica (Schulman) Edelstein. She was a part of the LA office for many years, working as everything from Director of Corporate Branding to Worldwide Director of Art and Design. She is now transitioning her many talents (and her heart) into a new field: art therapy.

Thank you, Jessica!

Hey Steve.

Just wanted to let you know I just made a small donation on your PayPal. As I pull a little money from my Chiat/Day 401k each month to help cover the cost of my going back to school for my Masters in Clinical Art Therapy and my career change to put thinking & visuals together in a new way after 19 years with the agency, I often reflect on all the amazing adventures, life lessons, drama, creativity, and friendships of my time at Chiat/Day/Mojo\TBWA. This month I pulled a little extra just for you. I'm thinking it probably is from a little bonus Jay gave me in 1992 and so I'm giving it back.

Jay used to say the agency's most valuable asset goes down the elevator and out the door every night. There were so many incredible people I cherish having worked with that are too many to name, but while some people are lucky enough to have a mentor or two, I couldn't believe the list of mentors who taught me life lessons I still use almost each & every day:

It was Kupe (who was my teacher at ArtCenter) who taught me to want to be in a place that does great work; it was another ArtCenter teacher Yvonne Smith that taught me that women were capable of immense talent; it was Jay that taught me to believe in myself (& museums!); it was Lee that taught me to be passionate about seeing and to have love for a place and not jump ship for shiny things; it was Laurie Coots that taught me teamwork, corporate culture, the art of global travel and perseverance; it was Mark Bilfield who taught me to plan for the future (he told me my first week if I contributed to my 401k I'd never miss it but would thank him later - 23 years later I do!!); it was Dave Butler and Jerry Gentile who taught me it was about doing really great work daily and not the flamboyance of awards or credit that others may partake in; it was Amy Miyano who taught me to respect the talents, kerning and space of the hardworking studio team that made the magic real; it was Hank Hinton who taught me that having a quick-witted officemate makes life more enjoyable; it was Margaret Keene who taught me the joys of sharing what I know with others & of laughing in the wee hours; it was Nancy Alley who taught me the importance of respect for everyone in all departments; it was Elaine Hinton & Richard O'Neal who taught me peeking in while ostensibly taking candy is ok —but to let producers do their job; it was Dan & Beth Bootzin who taught me you can get beautiful water from a dry stone if you cut it enough and just the right way; it was Cheryllynn Carter who taught me to laugh and not let naysayers get me down; it was Adam Morgan who taught me to listen to what people really think; It was Jim Juback, Rob Fleming, Diana Johnson, Jill Savage, Shelly Holden and Christine Donohoe who taught me to care about a job all the way through every department to its finish despite what other "creatives" think; it was Velda Ruddock who taught me to research and not stop at the first thing I find; it was Monica Karo who taught me grace under fire, and it was she & Fred Sattler that taught me that it mattered where and how people saw my work; it was Zach Rosenberg who taught me the power of networking and client diplomacy; it was Carol Madonna who taught me to buy myself flowers & the price of a post-it note; it was Amy Moorman & Jigisha Bouverat who taught me to respect copyright law and the talents of contributing artists; and perhaps most importantly, it was my favorite production manager Andrew Edelstein who taught me that late nights were for love and not just for concepting, typesetting, press checks or making comps.

And the donation Steve is to you, for teaching me (and all of us) to be grateful for the special place we were fortunate enough to grow and learn in. As Jay said when he gave me the small cash bonus literally from his own pocket, "I wish it could be more." Once my private practice is on solid ground (& a dent made in my student loan!) I will donate more. Until then, I encourage others to support you & the jay/day site. Thanks for keeping us connected.


Back at ya', Jessica

Mike MacNeill

Mike MacNeil

More sadness to report. C/D alum Mike MacNeill died last night (8/5/2014) in a freak explosion in his garage at his home in Brooklyn. No additional details to report. He is survived by his wife, Angela, and his daughter, Sophia.

Mike had been working as a Freelance Integrated Creative Director at NBCUniversal, but worked at TBWA/Chiat/Day on the Accenture and Global Volvo pitch and in the early 90s, worked at Chiat/Day as an art director.

August 01, 2014

Cindy Clements

How nice to hear today from Cindy Clements, my favorite media buyer from our Dallas office. She had lunch with her father and he wore a t-shirt which pretty much sums it up.


July 25, 2014

Davey Butler


I worked at Chiat/Day from the time we were nothing but a sleazy office on Olympic Boulevard and our lunch consisted of whatever rodent was being offered that day off of the burrito cart in the parking lot, which, for some reason, makes me think of David Butler.

David. Dave. Davey. In all of my years at C/D, he was the nicest person I ever worked with (except for you, of course.)

There was a time in this business when the "long copy" ad ruled. By "long copy," I mean a strong graphic, a headline and then copy so brilliant it would blow your head off. David usually contributed the latter two.
I first got into advertising by a circuitous means, the whole flashback of which I will spare you. But even though I was starving in Spokane, WA, as a junior copywriter (there was no senior copywriter - hey, wait a minute, I was the ONLY copywriter!)

I would pore over the issues of Communication Arts Magazine just to read the ads that were coming out of C/D, many of which were pouring out of the mind of David Butler. He was my hero. I wanted to work near him so bad I would be willing to bleed.

I ultimately got to work at C/D through a bit of stupid luck. (Bless you, Sharon Stanley.) And there, right down the hallway from my office, was David Butler. I mean this in all honesty, he is the most talented person with whom I have ever worked.

And now let's talk about where David got his talent. Some of it was inherited, for David Butler is the son of one of the most famous voice-over artists in history: Daws Butler.

Yep, all that time we were growing up and listening to Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound and Quickdraw McGraw, we were actually listening to Dave's father, Daws Butler.

Yogi.jpgHuckle Berry.jpg

I've never done this before, but I hereby create the "Alburty Awards," of which Dave is the first recipient.

David and his wife, Margie, live in Austin, Texas.

And here is the entire Daws Butler cast of characters. (Click on the image to make it larger.)

Sheri Olman



"The immediate family requests that no comments be made on any social media sites. Thank you for understanding."

June 24, 2014

The Simpsons


Oh, you poor people.

Because I was the "Wang" guy, I got to visit every office in which a Wang was installed. Forget the United States, my favorite station was Sydney, Australia. The fog in my mind forbids remembering how many years ago when I first met "The Simpsons."

(Background: Mojo was perhaps the most famous of all Australian ad agencies. Think Foster Beer. We merged. We drank. We merged.)

My contact was the great Mojo CFO, Jeff Simpson. He couldn't have been nicer. And his wife, Julie: I don't pass compliments around easily, but I asked her if she and Jeff would join me on a trip to Tahiti. I can think of few people who would refuse me. They did. I remain bereft.

I spent a few weeks there at the Manley Beach Hotel and (Jeff and Julie know what's coming next) they made scrambled eggs that were so bad the entire nation should have been banned from the U.N. (Lovely country. I got to pet a kangaroo. But they don't know from eggs.)

As they grew up, each of the children (Adam and Clair) came to NY to have their "Uncle Steve" give them their tour of NY, separately; I had one day with each of them. I took them to the most famous sites in NY. Including, as the grand finale, The Dakota apartment building. I sat them down (after walking their feet off for an entire day) on a park bench across from the Dakota.

I teased them. "What happened here?" They knew from John Lennon, but "Rosemary's Baby," they have been sheltered. What a loss. I worry about Australia.

I digress. I have received a long update about the comings and goings about a family that played a very important place in our company history.

Recap: Jeff (CFO of Chiat/Day/Mojo), Julie (His darling wife), and their children, Adam and Clair.

Plus, after 20+ years, they remain dear friends of mine: Enjoy. And now, I proudly present: The Simpsons:

From Jeff:

Here is some info on the productive Simpsons (aka Adam - his wife Amy - and Clair). They are each in their early thirties. Clair is the eldest.

Clair is and completed her Bachelor of Education graduating in November 2013. She is currently working at a local primary school on a part time basis. She has a great passion for helping young children to learn - and not just in formal education. Clair also teaches swimming 3 evenings a week, both kids and adults. This ranges from junior learn to swim and water safety programs to advanced stroke technique. Clair took up ocean swimming in her mid 20's and regularly participates in ocean swims from 1 to 5 kilometres. Clair swims at least once a week with a group of distance swimmers. She is also known to her close friends as "Clair fish". Whilst completing her degree Clair moved home with us at Narrabeen (on the beach, conveniently). She is single (and available!) Clair loves all sports and participates and watches as much as she can. Clair and I are very passionate supporters of our local rugby league team (The Manly Sea Eagles, Manly is a locale and not a description of their sexuality). Clair and have "season tickets" to attend the Sea Eagles home games at our local stadium.

Adam is a passionate musician who has to work to pay for his passion. He tried Marketing and Advertising at University but drank too much beer to pass his exams. He has worked very hard at his music and achieved excellent academic results at high school in his formal music studies. He is a drummer, writer and arranger. He has been in a number of bands and loves performing. His current band have a very popular stage act (it involves zombies and beards which both seem to be popular at the moment). This band is called "Gay Paris" and to try to label them is difficult - edgy, hard rock will suffice. They recorded one album and have another on the way. They are going to San Francisco in July to record their new album at a specialist studio with the guy who came to Australia to produce their first album. (www.gayparis.com.au). The band has performed all over Australia in the last three years, in capital cities and major regional cities. They have a faithful following in some of our more industrial cities (not sure of a US equivalent). Adam fills in time between gigs working for the Australian Performing Rights Association which is owned by the major record companies and which collects royalties on behalf of music artists and composers. I am sure there is an American equivalent. In addition to their "baby news" Adam and Amy have just bought an apartment in the inner western suburbs of Sydney. They move in on Tuesday 6th May. He is at a very exciting stage of his life.

Amy [editor's note: Amy is Adam's gorgeous wife] is a wonderful person, but I guess you know that having met her. Amy is an Associate Editor at Elle Magazine and loves her work. Amy graduated with a Psychology degree from Sydney University and has spent most of her career as a writer/journalist. Amy combines her love of fashion and beauty with great writing skills and confident presence. She is a natural on TV and has done a number of "expert interviews" on the world of fashion and beauty trends/fads for national networks.She has travelled extensively and has spent time in New York, Milan, London, Paris and Hong Kong. Adam and Amy met through a mutual friend, fell in love, then fell out of love and went their separate ways for about five years. They met again in 2007, fell in love again and became engaged whilst on holiday in Lake Como in Italy in 2011. They married in a wonderful celebration in the gardens of a 5 acre property in mountains to the west of Sydney. In February this year Amy confirmed that she is having a baby in September, much to the absolute delight of everyone, especially her parents in law.

Please see enclosed a photo of the five of us and one of Adam and Amy.

I hope you have seen winter through OK and the allergies aren't too bad.

All the best.

Jeff and Julie Simpson


Adam and Amy

June 23, 2014

Almost Australia

Blast it! I have a whole story planned about the Simpsons. Jeff Simpson was the CFO of Mojo in Australia, which Jay bought in his disastrous acquisition frenzy.

Unless you were in involved in the Mojo acquisition, you never got to meet their amazing CFO, Jeff Simpson, or his wife, the spectacular Julie Simpson, or their children Adam and Clair, who are all grown up. I will provide details.

I also have a piece coming about David Butler, who has a colleague relative you will all recognize. But first I have to get something I have on my chest. I posted it on Facebook earlier tonight. (The Simpsons and Dave Butler are more important to me, but I had to respond) And thus:


Saturday, June 21st, was "Jay/Day," the day those of us who worked for the brilliant, quixotic man Jay Chiat, founder of Chiat/Day Advertising, were supposed to go out and repay Jay's many kindnesses to US by doing something caring for anyone in need of the type of inspiration Jay inspired in all of us. (These are the tenets: http://www.jayday.org/jayday.html)

Instead I found myself being kicked out of a FB group run by Laura Sweet, who also worked at Chiat/Day. She runs her own page on Facebook and the topic for the day was "The Open Office." Jay was notorious for believing that creativity came out of chaos, and so he was an early proponent of the "open office," in which the lack of doors was thought by him to inspire free form creativity. Some hated it. Others loved it. (I can't tell you how thrilling it was that I, a peon in 1977, got to meet some of the eventual icons of the industry, all because I could walk by their office and say "hi" when they were not busy.)

But others, admittedly, were not advocates. Some hated it. I think it was a problem in LA because the employees had been used to Frank Gehry's wonderful warehouse. But the "Binocular" building was much more problematic because the building already existed and had to be retrofitted. People had to be squeezed into tight spaces. The New York office was a different story. It was designed from the ground up by the great architect Gaetano Pesce. It not only didn't have any doors, it didn't have any offices. It was a mish-mosh of cafes, small workstations, "bubbles" (small conference rooms) and an area for personal lockers where you kept your personal belongings. It was quite an adjustment. It took months for people to calm down. But in the end, we sensed the overall experience was not the nightmare people had expected.

(True story: when Omnicom bought C/D and Bill Tragos from TBWA took over, he demanded his OWN bathroom. Eve Luppert, our HR director and (along with me and Laurie Coots) was one of the implementers of the Virtual Office was outraged. Remember how colorful the resin floors of the office were? Gaetano built Tragos his own bathroom. But the colors of the resin of the floor? Brown and yellow. I don't think Tragos ever got the joke.)

I am saddened that former colleagues (or some who had bad "open office nightmares" elsewhere), like Laura Sweet, Rich Siegel, Becca Morton, Diane Pirie Cockerill, Brad Gantt, Paul Stenquist, Brian Jay Miller, Melanie Monteiro, and Christie Cordes, are so bitter. (I'm even more sorry that Laura Sweet chooses who she wishes to allow to comment or not. Jay would have a conniption.)

I personally, will ALWAYS be grateful that I worked for Jay Chiat. He challenged us beyond our ability to be comfortable with his ideas. And he would be MORTified (get it? "Morton" was his real first name) that some of you use snarkiness or banishment to debase his achievement, or silence those, like me, who tried to achieve his dream. At least HE TRIED.

Steve Alburty
Chiat/Day, 1977 to 1995

P.S. J.K. Rowling wrote "Harry Potter," with her daughter by her side, in a pub. (It's now a Chinese restaurant.) Talk about powers of concentration!

May 23, 2014

Robin Rotenier


He was everybody's favorite Frenchman. Robin Rotenier worked in the accounting department in the late 80s/early 90s. He left to become a jeweler, which was no surprise, as he comes from a long line of jewelry designers. He met with wild success, eventually selling his work to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

He was known as the King of the Cufflinks and once sold a pair with a ruby inlay for $9,800.

But on May 20th, he took a hammer, smashed his apartment window and jumped to his death. He left no note.

All of us who knew him mourn his loss. He was one of the sweetest people I have ever met.


May 09, 2014

Omnicom/Publicis coitus interruptus


And they said it wouldn't last.

The proposed merger between the omnivorous Omnicom and the agency-most-likely-to-be-in-heat, Publicis, has been called off.

Rumor has it that they could not agree on who would be CFO. Or whether the liquid in the stagnant coolers should be called "eau" or "eeeuuuh" Parisians insisted on fluffy, flaky croissants. Omnicom just wanted dough.

The issue of trying to mesh different cultures was also cited. "Culture?" Who has a culture anymore?

Creativity and money and cultures would not have stopped a $35 Billion merger. The "CFO" issue is a ruse.

"Culture?" Oh, baby, you should have said goodbye to that decades ago when you decided to eat each others' young.

That happy sound you hear is that of a hundreds of people in accounting departments across the world closing their laptops and going out for a drink,

I long for the days when the work mattered.

Apparently, 2014 will not be 1984.


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