Ad Age : You've mentioned how you were encouraged to have
a drink to grease the creative wheels.
Mr. Rosch: For years and years, when someone
was stuck, someone else -- or I -- would say, "Well, you guys
should just go to a bar." That's what I did all the time. My
partner and I would go to a bar and continue concepting. Sometimes
it works. But I think it just makes you less judgmental about your
own work. It's like beer goggles for content.
Ad Age : Is there much of yourself in the main
Mr. Rosch: Seventy-five percent of what he goes
through is related to what I went through. How it's portrayed is
Ad Age : Before writing what you've termed "recovery
fiction," had you thought about writing a memoir?
Mr. Rosch: I started one, but my feeling is
that the market is flooded with memoirs by recovering addicts. As
for my own alcoholism: Was I an asshole to a lot of people? Maybe.
For the most part, people seemed to think I was a fun drunk.
Ad Age : There's also a pretty high bar now for acting
like an asshole because of all those trainwreck memoirs, like
Augusten Burroughs' "Dry."
Mr. Rosch: Absolutely. That might be a book I
write down the line. I escaped from a hospital and talked my way
out of a psych ward once. There are stories from when I was
drinking, but I'm not sure they're crazy enough to build a book
around. They might be. I'm doing another fiction book now, but
maybe I'll do that for my third or fourth book. It might have
been more marketable. Given that I have a name in advertising, it
might have sold more books. I don't know.
Ad Age : Does the very boozy "Mad Men" contribute to
drinking problems in the industry?
Mr. Rosch: I think the average person who likes
that show gets the idea that alcohol can be a big problem. When I
started in the "90s, I heard a lot about the daytime drinking in
the "80s. Maybe there's a fantasy notion about it.
Ad Age : Should the industry do anything about drinking
in its ranks?
Mr. Rosch: I think statistically, one out of
every 10 people is an alcoholic. For agencies or companies to go
out of their way to nip the problem wouldn't be fair to the nine
people who aren't alcoholics. I don't miss drinking, but I don't
begrudge anyone for cracking a beer at noon on a nice day if
they're sitting outside concepting. All the agencies I worked at
were super gracious in offering me help. I was surprised, but I did
not take the help I was offered. It's still hard, though. I just
started this job and the first thing everyone wants to do is take
you out for a drink.
Ad Age : Could you see yourself working for a beer or
Mr. Rosch: Sure. I'd have no problem working on
those brands. My wife drinks, my family drinks and the great
majority of my closest friends aren't alcoholics. And even
though I don't use it anymore, I think I could still sell it pretty