The Kings of Madison Avenue are damned impressive interviewees.
Highly articulate and intelligent heavy hitters in silk suits with
perfect teeth much in evidence, they generally spend the hour or so they
can grant to visiting journalists smiling and chatting in a relaxed,
arm-round-the-shoulder style. But sometimes they sometimes can't help
uttering an unguarded statement. Here's some of the best quotes from the
- 'Eugh! Ha, ha, ha, that's a tricky one! ... My favourite ad? ... I
think ... probably ... um ... I think of advertising in terms of
effectiveness, that's my God. So I'd pick the Mars Bar advertising we've
done in the UK.'
Former MacManus Group CEO Roy Bostock on his favourite ad.
- 'No! Hah-hah-hah-hah!'
DDB CEO Keith Reinhard on whether Daryl Simm, former head of Omnicom's
OMD media network, has power over him on media issues.
- 'What would you do? When you grow up with a name like Schmetterer, you
have a whole different perspective on different names.'
Bob Schmetterer, worldwide CEO of Euro RSCG, on the notion of changing
the name of his agency - Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer.
- 'I am seen possibly in the business and trade press as something of a
new-technology curmudgeon. It could not be further from the truth. I
will just not play the game of jumping on bandwagons of embracing
ill-thought-out strategies of what agencies need to be.'
'... Slapping banners on the internet is a waste of time and a waste of
money. But will the net allow us the opportunity to communicate in ways
we haven't thought of? Of course!'
'... It's easy to make a titillating speech or presentation about the
future. We hate talking to clients about blue-sky stuff. It's not in our
nature. So you could say we don't participate at the leading edge, but
most of the leading edge is bullshit.'
Allen Rosenshine, CEO of BBDO Worldwide, on new media.
- 'I am just this guy from the midwest and I don't want to be seen as
this Big Swinging Dick.'
Roger Haupt, CEO of Bcom3.
- 'Martin is not like most other people. He is an extraordinary person
and there is a reason he's achieved what he's achieved. He's not an easy
person to work with and he doesn't particularly want to be. He's an
impatient, restless worrier and he thrives on bad news. I've known
Martin for a long time, since he was at Saatchis, and I genuinely feel
that you don't really have a relationship, you have a series of
encounters. We can have a row and 20 minutes later he'll be back on the
phone and we'll have a lovely exchange.'
Chris Jones, former chief executive of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, on
WPP Group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.
- 'Within clear financial guidelines, we motivate people with carrots,
John Wren, Omnicom's CEO, contrasts his holding company with WPP.
- 'Mason thinks we come from the third world. We are good enough to
choose the wine for his table but not to sit at it.'
Maurice Levy, the Publicis chairman, on Bruce Mason, the former chairman
of True North.
... and on getting into advertising:
- 'I remember sitting in an agency lobby watching people come and go.
They were all about my age. The girls wore miniskirts and the boys had
long hair and sneakers like me. It was then that I said to myself that
advertising was the place I should be.'
'In the UK, there's barely a week goes by where someone's salary is not
reported. In the US, it's like, so what? But if you can't do your job,
you're history. Everyone knows that. I think that's healthier.'
Michael Bungey, worldwide chairman of Cordiant Communications, on money
- 'Dynamite doesn't always open a door and if you want to get something
done you need to work within the chosen environment. You can either run
a business where the business serves your ego, or you serve the business
and I take the latter view.'
Mike Greenlees, who stepped down in March as the CEO of TBWA Worldwide,
on TBWA's politics and his reputation as a chameleon.
- 'There's no doubt that if I called in a management consultant they
would advise me to drop the Advertising off the Grey name everywhere -
but, you know, I've got a lot of stationery.'
Grey's CEO Ed Meyer demonstrates his credentials as a benign
- 'I've made a career out of it ... Amex, Ponds, Maxwell House ... I'm
just hanging in there!'
Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide CEO Shelly Lazarus comments on the loss of the
lion's share of Ford's European account and her reputation for regaining
business. She went on to win it back.
- 'The most fun you can have in business is getting a group of people to
see a mountain and wanna climb it, to figure out a way to climb it and
to stand at the top arm in arm and say 'damn!'.'
True North CEO David Bell on his management style.
- 'My character will create some new energy. Right now I need to absorb.
Then you create, you spend time ensuring that the dream is worthwhile. I
go about it with a 'not to be denied attitude' and pretty much I am not
Interpublic's new CEO John Dooner on his business style. Having taken
over True North in March 2001, IPG is now the world's largest
advertising holding company by revenue.
- 'They seemed to think Martin Sorrell would come running in with a
sledgehammer. They thought there was a secret plan to try and break Y&R
Young & Rubicam CEO Mike Dolan on how staff reacted when WPP's intention
to buy Y&R was revealed.
- 'You gotta remember that I'm told by my boys I don't know much about
Interpublic's former CEO Phil Geier on whether the UK can learn anything
from the US.
- 'Thank you (I think) for the profile you did on me. You call me a
septuagenarian in the article. I take the point of view I am a mature
man in his mid-sixties. Since I am a benign dictator, I expect my point
of view to prevail.
Should you not accept my point of view, I am prepared to use some of the
great wealth you attribute to me to purchase your publication.
I would then propose to have this same conversation with you again.
Finally, I would like to thank you genuinely for the article. The
flattering things you said about me are quite accurate. Everything else
Ed Meyer tells us what he thought of his profile.