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Reading Rance Crain's Aug. 31 column ("Process of creating great ads getting to be too darned hard") sure took me back. Especially the part about Bill Bernbach.

About 1,000 years ago, I started an agency in Cincinnati, and our slogan was "Advertising has been dull long enough." Somehow Mr. Bernbach got a copy of our stationery and took the time to write a note. He was intrigued by our cheek, maybe. If you're in New York, call me, he wrote.

I was in New York a lot. I'd begun my ad career at J. Walter (two cubicles from Gad Romann, the other name in Mr. Crain's column that rang a bell). I was crazy about Gad's energy and ideas and counted him a close friend. On trips to New York, I'd stay with him.

I made the appointment to see Mr. Bernbach and stayed with Gad, who had about 30 locks on his apartment door, including a safety bar. My appointment was for 2 p.m. but I ended up locking myself in Gad's apartment. I climbed the fire escape along with my huge portfolio and, when I showed up 15 minutes late at DDB, I don't think I'd ever been so sheepish.

Mr. Bernbach was unfazed. Something else bothered him, though; it was the nature of the work I was doing. It was "creative," you see. He harrumphed. "Skip," he said patiently, "What's the most important thing to remember when putting together a campaign?" I sat there like a dolt. "Research," he explained. "You've got to do the research. You have to know a lot before you even sit down to come up with one idea."

Here was the guy who had the reputation of being the "most creative person in advertising" and what was he telling me? That I actually had to know something!

The wonderful Mr. Bernbach is gone; DDB is gone; I haven't seen Gad in 20 years, and I've since left advertising altogether to join the editorial ranks of California publications, a dwindling lot though they may be. But reading Rance's story was pure therapy.

Stewart Weiner

Editor, Palm Springs Life

Palm Springs, Calif.


* In "Ford's direct, interactive work goes to OgilvyOne" (Oct. 19, P. 56), OgilvyOne, New York, was named agency of record for interactive for Ford Motor Co. but not AOR for direct marketing.

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