Abruzzese Declines to Roast Cochrane: 'I'm Not That Stupid'

Allstate Marketing Exec Named Ad Person of the Year

By Published on .

It was a roast for Lisa Cochrane, senior VP-marketing at Allstate, but one of the bigger guffaws came at the expense of Joe Abruzzese, president-advertising sales at Discovery Networks. Randy Fenoli, star of the network's "Say Yes to the Dress" and fashion director at Kleinfeld's bridal salon, introduced the adworld's sartorial master thusly: "This man has a wardrobe as big as mine. I want to raid his closet."

Mr. Abruzzese -- who in case you are wondering, sported an orange tie -- kicked off the ceremonies naming Ms. Cochrane the New York Advertising Foundation's Advertising Person of the Year last night by saying he declined to roast her because "I'm not that stupid. I have too much respect for a big client of ours ... and we are right in the middle of the upfront." Allstate has a $400 million-plus budget.

Others, though, weren't so shy. Allstate VP Nancy Abraham had some real zingers -- but she was actually delivering the remarks of Mark LaNeve, Allstate exec VP-sales and operations, who was unable to attend. She -- um, he -- poked fun at Ms. Cochrane's thriftiness, relating the time she picked Mr. LaNeve up for work in a 1982 Volvo (heresy for an ex-GM exec) littered with dog hair, cereal bowls and holes in the floorboards. "I thought I was riding with Wilma Flintstone."

Next up: Dean Winters, who stars as "Mayhem" in Allstate's spots, appearing via video. "I'm falling out of a tree and I'm thinking of how much I really love Lisa Cochrane," he said, recalling that "I wanted to become an actor so I didn't have to put on a suit and sell insurance."

The pair that really brought the house down, though, was Jeanie Caggiano and Charley Wickman, exec VPs and exec creative directors at Leo Burnett, who also made light of Ms. Cochrane's -- let's say attention to detail. Ms. Caggiano said she was there to "dispel the myth that Lisa is a micromanager who struggles with delegating," noting that she easily signed off on her roast presentation -- including punctuation, kerning and leading.

They, too, poked fun at Ms. Cochrane's apparent tightness with a buck, saying that after the Super Bowl she went around the Superdome collecting leftovers to take home. They told a story about how once while shopping in a thrift store for bake ware, she ran out to the car to get money from her husband and when she came back, the store also offered her apples and bread at no cost. Her reaction: "They think I'm poor!" and then: "Oh my God, free apples!"

Ms. Caggiano ended with: "Eat you heart out Don Draper, you never got to work with Lisa Cochrane."

Most Popular