Me and Coach Parcells

I noticed future Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells on TV the other day and I thought, “geez, he’s looking older. But at least he’s keeping the weight off.” And I flashed back to the campaign we did together for New York’s Tri-State Cadillac Dealers. He was a little heavier back then. Coaching the Jets. But a really nice guy to work with. If you didn’t know he was a maniac football coach, a tough leader of men who could, at any moment yell out, “drop and give me 40!” and half of Fifth Avenue would obey, you’d have thought this guy was a professional TV actor. He did a lot of sponsorships in those days. He had an agent right out of Jerry McGuire, complete with bad-ass wrap around shades and slick suit.

And what these guys did was pack all of Bill’s commercial production into one week before the start of summer training camp. I remember meeting Bill at the shoot on a Monday and he went through his schedule: three commercials for Cadillac today, two for this auto parts company tomorrow, flying to California for two commercials Wednesday, and so on. Back to back commercials.

We had some radio to do, along with the TV spots. He arranged for us to walk from where we were shooting, in front of the Plaza Hotel, to a radio studio next door and record over lunch. I thought, this is going to be a disaster. We are sunk. We had TWELVE COMMERCIALS to record. In an hour. And we’d been shooting a TV commercial since 5 that morning, and would be shooting another into the night after the lunch break. I was worried. This was going to SUCK!!!

Walking to the studio, I said to Parcells, “You sure you want to do all TWELVE? We can cut it down to three.”

Parcells said, “No problem,” and went back to joking.

Who was I to argue? And when he went into the booth, HE DID IT! He knocked them out perfectly. In one take. Masterful. As he left the booth, 47 minutes later, I gushed about what a great job he did.

He paused, looked at me, and said, in total seriousness, “Oh, that was nothing, yesterday I did 30 in an hour.”

And he walked away chatting and laughing with his agent.

Today’s Ad Game — Spinning Plates for Fun and Profit

I was talking with a young, talented producer at a major (Big 5) international ad agency last night. You would kill to have this 24 year old (24 YEAR OLD!!!) on your staff. As a way of checking in on that state of things, I asked him to describe his typical day.

Fasten your seat belts.

He gets in two hours before the “creatives.” He starts to answer the almost 200 e-mails he’s got in his in box from the past NIGHT! He starts to chart on the eight or nine projects he’s working on. (Not like in the good old days, he says, a year and half ago when he started, when he could work on one project at a time.)

What kind of projects? I ask.

A couple of radio productions, a few websites in various stages of design and wireframe, some web banners, putting some reels together for a big new business pitch, re-cutting some old TV spots, bidding out some new ones.

Does this kid have time to eat? Much less take a “bio break?”

The reasons are clear. The agency, which shall not be named, has shrunk. More work is being piled on. Even the once untouchable art directors and copywriters are supposed to be able to play almost any position on the field — from radio to TV to web to print to promotions.

He did mention they do have some kind of bar, or some way to get drinks in the afternoon, around 4.

They need it.

(Although, to be fair, it does remind me of my days when I was running my own shop after I left the cocoon of major agency-dom.)

More on this topic later…I’m exhausted just remembering it…