The final curtain has fallen, the stage is dark and after a two-week run and some 2,000 tickets sold, the Chicago musical "Pitchmen" has closed. Written by former adman Pat Byrnes and directed by Ned Crowley, exec creative director at Leo Burnett, the play is about a small ad agency that pitches and wins a $1 billion account. It was mounted as a benefit for St. Clement Catholic Church, which staged the show, but now the producers have greater aspirations. "There is some definite interest from potential investors to take it to another stage," says Kathleen Juckniess, the show's marketing director. "I'm looking to talk to several ad-agency groups to produce a one-off as we continue to talk to theaters in the Chicago area for a possible commercial run." A warning to investors: "Pitchmen" is a Faustian pact. The "client," the man with the money, is the bad guy. His name is Lu Cifer, otherwise known as Basil Bub. If you don't know who that is, you're in the wrong business.
George just turned over in his grave
Bcom3 Group's Starcom won the media buying and planning business for Sun Microsystems last week and the offices were filled with the sound of "Here Comes the Sun." Starcom MediaVest chief Jack Klues had the bright idea of sending congratulatory voicemail messages out to his winning team with George Harrison's tune playing in the background. And what tune will Jack spin if they win the Maytag business, the next big review on the boards? Adages suggests The Randells' "Love That Dirty Water."
Love and cloning
Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli chief Ben Goddard didn't have to look far to find the actress who played Louise when he decided to put together two spots opposing a ban on cloning research that reunited the Harry and Louise actors used in a highly publicized 1993 ad campaign against the Clinton health plan. The actress playing Louise in the spot, Louise Caire Clark, is now Mr. Goddard's wife. "It was a classic production story," says Mr. Goddard, who first met Ms. Clark on the 1993 shoot.
Forget Mary Wells, read Wally Gordon!
Wallace J. Gordon and Mary Wells have two things in common. They both worked in the ad business for almost 40 years and they both wrote about it in recently published books. The similarities end there. Mary climbed from copy girl to big time Madison Ave. agency owner and self-made millionaire, and wrote a book "A Big Life in Advertising" published by media giant Alfred A. Knopf. Wally, on the other hand, cycled around the copy departments of dozens of off-Mad Ave. agencies, ended up with a meager pension and wrote a better book titled "The Other Side of Advertising," which he published himself. Perhaps he should have called his book "A Small Life in Advertising." No, he didn't work for the godhead Bill Bernbach. He labored away in the offices of Howard Swink in Marion, Ohio, and Hume Smith Mickleberry in Miami. And his biggest claim to fame is discovering Cliff Freeman. "I gave him his first job as a copywriter at McCann in Atlanta," says Wally, proudly. "Cliff was a young firebrand. He was a natural." Wally's book is a natural too; it's fun to read but also very sad. You see, he began writing it originally as a daily record he expected to use as evidence in an age-discrimination lawsuit against a small ad agency. "I was 65 but they thought I was 55, and already at that age I was getting eased out of the main accounts," Wally says. "If I had gotten canned I would have lost my deferred income." Thankfully, he didn't get the boot, and like a good copyman, he rewrote the manuscript, inserting flashback remembrances of advertising glories from the past, such as the first time he set eyes on the fair-haired Freeman. The rest is history.
contributing: ira teinowitz
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