David Guerrero: Postcard from Manila

David Guerrero_2017.jpgDavid Guerrero, Chairman and CCO at BBDO Guerrero Philippines reviews Ben Kay's "If this is a podcast then what's Christmas".

Truly mad.

It's worth recalling for a moment how things were before Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce came along. A best-of box set featuring pre-Mad-Men ad men might start with: the indecisive Robert Webber in 12 Angry Men (1957), move on to the befuddled Dick York in ABC's Bewitched (1964-72) and the hapless Albert Brooks in Lost in America (1985). We then might be treated to a panty-lining-wearing Mel Gibson in What Women Want (2000) and a deranged Dudley Moore in Crazy People (1990). Not to mention the Golden Raspberry-nominated Keanu Reeves in Sweet November (2001) and a best-forgotten performance by Richard E. Grant in How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989). And even if we factor in the relatively well-received thirtysomething (1987-91) we are still left with a picture of an industry that is all-male, all-white and more than somewhat unhinged.
So it is good to hear the actual advertising people of today revealed as a more diverse, more practical and let's face it just nicer than the sort of villains we have been seeing on our screens. Admittedly the podcast is hosted by the white, male but relatively hinged Ben Kay, a highly-awarded English creative director based in LA. But his interview subjects range from Adam and Eve DDB's Emer Stamp, the woman who created what is described as "an entire genre" of heart-warming Christmas commercials for John Lewis, to Vinny Warren, the Irish-born American behind Budweiser's iconic "Wazzup" campaign.

There's an extended set of interviews with Dave Dye who spins some very good yarns about his time in Leagas Delaney, BMP and AMV - not to mention his various start-up ventures. His story about showing the work he'd been approving while his boss at the time Tim Delaney had been on some kind of forced leave is hilarious. And familiar to anyone who's been on either side of that sort of conversation.

We also hear from the likes of Vicky Maguire from Grey London. She runs a sweet shop in her spare time and points the brattiest kids towards the sourest candies in the store. And others like Neil Dawson who worked out that moving to a better agency in the same city was best achieved by leaving the country for a couple of years. Or Sean Doyle who commuted over 300 miles a day by train - but made it the most productive part of his working week. The current subject is Josh Weltman, the advertising consultant on Mad Men, who as our host describes him, wrote "ALL the ads - Don's, Peggy's, Sal's... The work from competing agencies. Then he consulted on all the agency stuff to make it all as authentic as possible."

So what is it about this podcast that reaches the parts the written memoir does not? Firstly, we hear from a lot of people who might not think their story worth telling. It could also be that a recording cannot be taken back once spoken. Most of all perhaps because the collective wisdom of the industry seems to survive best in a kind of oral tradition. And if the big and small screen depictions aren't quite cutting it, then this podcast gets close to something surprising: Truth in advertising.

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1 Comments

Thanks for highlighting David said:

The interviews are brilliant.

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