[lit-ideas] Worldly Wisdom

  • From: John McCreery <mccreery@xxxxxxx>
  • To: Anthro-L <ANTHRO-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, DemsAbroad@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, DPCA-Leadership@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, democratsabroadjapan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 11:54:42 +0900

<b>Some Bits of Worldly Wisdom</b>

Since the newsletter of the <a=20
href=3D"http://www.americanacademyofadvertising.org/";>American Academy =
of=20
Advertising</a> is not something that most of us are likely to read and=20=

only available in pdf, I gratefully steal the following from a tribute=20=

to advertising legend Howard Gossage. The author, Bruce Bendinger, sums=20=

up what he learned from Gossage in four points that might, just might,=20=

I think, have something to say to the Democratic Party and our current=20=

malaise.

<blockquote><i>

Here are The Four Points. Feel free to take notes.

<b>1. Leave Room for the Mouse. </b>
This was a favorite line of Howard=92s and, I think, the key to=20
understanding how he made his advertising interactive decades before=20
there was an Internet. Howard had his tricks =96 the amusing contest, =
the=20
semi-serious pronouncement, and, of course, the coupon asking you to=20
send in a bit of yourself along with your name and address. It all=20
worked in a quietly spectacular way. (Howard, elitist that he was, also=20=

tended to run his ads in The New Yorker, a magazine with readers Howard=20=

could relate to =96 and they did.) Responses to Howard=92s coupons and=20=

contests were turned into books =96 yes, books- created from responses =
to=20
his advertising. Howard understood the importance of being interesting=20=

and involving and he did it, not by filling every nook and cranny with=20=

his own creativity and cleverness, but by having the generosity of=20
spirit to invite the consumer to make their own contribution =96 an =
offer=20
that was often accepted.

<b>2. Take the Extra-Environmental View.</b>
  OK, next big point. This is a thought contained in one of Howard=92s=20=

best lines, which he went and attributed to someone else=85 =93We don=92t=20=

know who discovered water, but we=92re pretty sure it wasn=92t a fish.=94=20=

Howard=92s ads worked because he was far better at understanding =93the=20=

game behind the game=94 =96 the world of media =96 the water all our =
little=20
ads swim in. The leverage of that extra perspective gave Gossage a=20
tremendous competitive advantage. Howard=92s work resonated on a larger=20=

stage =96 just as his writings were as apt to appear in Harper=92s as=20
Advertising Age. Howard saw the behind the scenes connections and he=20
knew how to work them. In the vaudeville act of advertising, he paid=20
attention to the ventriloquist not the dummy.

<b>3. Stand Up and Be Counted.</b>
  This was more than a headline for Irish Whiskey, it was a rocksolid=20
belief. Howard believed that the power we have to communicate and=20
persuade was also a responsibility =96 one with a higher purpose. Are we=20=

to be known only for the products
we so artfully promote? More clever thumbtacks for the =93billion-dollar=20=

hammer?=94 How about saving the planet with Friends of the Earth? Howard=20=

did that. Trying to stop a war =96 Howard was at the forefront of the=20
anti-war movement, whatever the business consequence. He supported=20
Ramparts magazine and a wide range of protest actions. With Rover cars,=20=

he worked to get people to wear seat belts decades before Detroit=20
factored saving lives into their business equation. Even his small good=20=

deeds had sizable consequences. He helped a little classical radio=20
station stay in business by inventing the Beethoven sweatshirt =96 a=20
perfect fit for his Rainier Ale account. He worried about being=20
remembered for that.

<b> 4. Flahoolick. </b>

This is our fourth and final point. It=92s an Irish word Howard=20
discovered (or invented, you never quite knew with Howard). It=20
describes =93princely exuberance.=94 It is that certain something that=20=

makes every party a celebration of life, every lunch and dinner a=20
celebration of companionship and connection, and every moment, every=20
day, one worth seizing. Howard lived that way. =93He believed every man=20=

should be comfortable while engaging in the necessary business of=20
rescuing the world.=94 And Howard wants you to make it part of your=20
operating system. You can do this. Enjoy a long lunch with good=20
friends. Put together a dinner with the finest minds you can fit around=20=

a table and see where the evening goes. Re-discover the joy of writing=20=

letters. Write something worth putting a stamp on. Send it. And see=20
what happens. That=92s how Howard became best friends with John=20
Steinbeck.


These things are available to all of us =96 waiting to enrich our lives=20=

and the lives of those around us. And don=92t hold back for some silly=20=

reason like no one=92s paying for it. </blockquote></i>=

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