Chaos: The Symposium

The University of Texas Hosted a Conference on the Uncertainties Facing Media and Marketing and All I Got was a Lousy T-Shirt

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Actually, everyone got a t-shirt, which they got to customize as they chose, completing the pre-printed sentence that begins "Advertising Is..."

There were many colorful sentiments expressed, although strangely -- considering the theme of the conference -- not one of them was "Doomed." Otherwise, the sold-out event went off without a hitch.

It was a bit weird attending a conference, sponsored by a major university, spawned by my own work -- namely "The Chaos Scenario" piece published in Ad Age a couple of years ago. But it was gratifying to see that UT's Professor Neal Burns, who chaired "Chaos," was able to attract two bona fide luminaries: Allen Rosenshine of BBDO and Keith Reinhard of DDB, both now ex officio, but both titans of 20th century advertising.

Titans, of course, mingle with other titans -- and therein the highlight of the weekend for me. At dinner on Saturday, Keith told a story about David Ogilvy. who was a living legend in advertising until he died. Now he is just a legend. But he was also famously -- let's see, how can I phrase this delicately? -- an asshole. Back in the late 70s, he attended a private dinner party in his honor at the home of Needham Harper Steers' Joel Raphaelson -- a meal prepared not by some caterer but by Mrs. Raphaelson. Ogilvy tasted the main course.

And sent it back.
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