By Published on .

Just as we were putting the finishing touches on our profile of Rich Herstek and Peter Favat, purveyors of wonderfully warped advertising for Converse sneakers and partners in the Boston agency Houston Effler Herstek Favat, we spied a little item in The Wall Street Journal noting that Converse was laying off almost 20 percent of its work force and taking a $2.5 million charge against earnings as part of a restructuring brought on by poor sales. Hmmm, we thought-doesn't sound good, now does it? While the originality and inventiveness of the agency's work for Converse is often pretty obvious-despite its penchant for weirdness, Nike has nothing quite as off the wall in its repertoire as those Converse spots with Lupo the Butcher and Too Much Coffee Man-the hard realities of going up against its giant competitors is clearly taking its toll on the client. And that's a shame, because brands like Converse provide consumers with a nice alternative to the increasingly heavy-handed big business tactics of Nike and Reebok.

Besides, I grew up wearing Chucks, as we used to call All Stars back then. I would hate to see them get a little nervous, start looking for fall guys and decide, as has many an advertiser that's watched cool campaigns result in dropping sales, to make a change. Of course, during the time that Herstek and Favat have been at Houston Effler, the agency's own repertoire has expanded suitably to convince the casual observer that they're capable of producing good work for more than just the showcase client. Which, as usual, gives rise to hope.

Our coverline is a bit misleading this month. While Donald Gunn's 100 Best Commercials of All Time is still the mother of all reels, he really didn't pick all the spots himself, as our story reveals. It might be more accurate to describe the collection as something that Donald Gunn Presents. Those who know the affable Gunn could never confuse him with Sam Goldwyn, but nevertheless he's become an impresario of sorts, regularly offering up compelling cornucopias of commercial compilations for your viewing pleasure. As head of Burnett's Creative Exchange Department, Gunn supervises the regular collection and near global dissemination of not only Burnett's own work but of great spots from agencies hither and yon.

Not only does he put a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm into this task-his pursuit of spots for the best commercials of all time reel came to resemble a sacred quest, says his associate, Lisa Buckner-but Gunn knows these ads like most of us know the backs of our hands. It's not uncommon for him to be able to recite verbatim most of the dialogue and voiceovers from these commercials. God only knows how many more he's got stored in his head. While Gunn's department is a great resource for Burnett, Gunn himself, with his encyclopedic knowledge of great campaigns and his willingness to put them into context, as he did at Cannes two years ago with his seminar examining whether award-winning ads sell, is an industry treasure.

For you regular subscribers, a reminder-we'll see you next with our annual Winter Double Issue, in your mailboxes around the beginning of February. Till then, from all of us here at Creativity, have a great holiday and a swell New

Most Popular