Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Get 'Get Smashed'

Get Smashed by Sam Delaney is a book about the 'golden age' of British advertising, when creatives drove Ferraris, started drinking at about 11am, punched each other a lot and produced some of the most memorable TV ads of all time.

LunarBBDO reviews it here and is annoyed by the book's occasional faulty spelling.

I thought it was rather well written, but it annoyed me immensely, for different reasons -

They had a lot more fun in those days. Made a shitload more money than we do. And their job was so much easier.


"What's so special about your shirts?" asked Johnston. "You don't need to iron them," explained Raelbrook. With that, Johnston sat down at a piano and, beginning to play, sang seven words: "Raelbrook Toplin, the shirts you don't iron!" He repeated the slogan three times, then changed key and repeated the process. Raelbrook was thrilled: "That's what I want! Don't change anything!"

More money:

Eventually, they asked Peter Mayle to take over as creative director. "I decided to give it a go," he says. "It was exciting to have been elevated so quickly. I was only twenty-six, I was earning twice what the prime minister got paid and owned a house on Sloane Square."

More fun:

"I'd get into the office between ten and eleven", Lovelock explains. "Then we'd soon head off to lunch, which was supposed to end at two thirty, but nobody ever did come back."

We also learn that Frank Lowe once worked as a carpet salesman in Manhattan, if Charles Saatchi saw a pair of shoes he liked he would buy several pairs in every single colour, and Tim Bell was so charming that 'dogs would cross the street to be kicked by him.'

All in all, a good light read, that makes you wish you were born about thirty years earlier.


Anonymous said...

Nice pocket-sized review, Scamp. I'll be buying that book. I loved "Inside Collet Dickinson Pearce" for the same reason. They did have it so much easier those days. And being a creative was so much sexier.

J said...

Sounds good but appears to be missing important stuff like coke and sex and er, coke.

Hopefully George Parker's book will be X- rated. Can't wait for that one.

Anonymous said...

so true about the money and fun going out of advertising. the previous generation sold us all out. bastards!

Anonymous said...

It was reviewed by our less-regular Lunar blogger but he was right about the lazy spelling of Hegerty and Abbot (several times).

I thought the best story was the one about Adrian Lyne shagging that girl out of his window.

Anonymous said...

There were no planners nor was their any research. And clients were actually intelligent people, not just wet-behind-the-ears morons with a diploma in Marketing from Douchbag Technical College in St. Alban's. Happy days indeed.

Anonymous said...

These people inspired me to get into advertising. And the moment I got in the business was the moment after those days ended. Bugger.

Anonymous said...

the only way to get rich like these guys did (incl. sir john h.) is to do it for yourselves. otherwise you're just punching a clock at the holding company factory. these guys were rebels. they didn't give a f**k.

Anonymous said...

I started in advertising (granted, American advertising) just in time to miss all this.

It may not be as lucrative at the lower levels, but there is still fun, money and creativity to be found. Just look at what Pat Fallon did in Minneapolis. Or what CP+B is doing in Miami.

If you don't like it, do it differently.

Alan Wolk said...

Scamp: Very true all around.

It's funny Ad Age got quite upset when a few of us suggested that the lack of large salaries was one of the reasons advertising wasn't that much fun anymore (and, subsequently, isn't attracting the best talent.) But it's just common sense: if the "best and brightest" know there's not much point to busting their asses and working insane hours for 10 years, why bother?

Are they showing "Mad Men" over there yet? It's about US advertising in 1960- didn't like it at first but then it grew on me-- beautifully shot, if nothing else. (Try and watch it in HD if you can)
That show has occasioned a much similar conversation here.

@DailyBiz: Salaries are considerably lower at the upper levels these days-- juniors are paid more or less the same. And Fallon made his money when he sold his agency. As did Crispin. There are new shops coming up and all, but they're not making the profits agencies used to in the days of 15% commissions.

Still,beats being an accountant. (Well, most days, anyway)

Anonymous said...

If only these old guys had taken planners into the edit with them. They'd have owned a whole row of house in Sloane Square. Losers!