I was going to replace Hemingway as the great American storyteller.
I fell in love with writing when I was 10 years old
… writing a human-interest column for a suburban Detroit newspaper. I earned 10 cents a column inch; passes to the local theater and a feature in Publishers’ Auxiliary, a national paper that named me “America’s youngest columnist”. I was hooked. Writing could bring me fame and fortune (and free movie passes). And I enjoyed doing it.
From that point on — I wrote.
I treated every experience as material for a story, poem, or possible novel. I earned a BA with majors in English and Psychology from Alma College where I edited the college literary magazine, Pine River Anthology.
I beat the draft of 18 months active duty…
and enlisted for three years in the regular army. (Hey, Hemingway got a lot of material that way.) I trained hard and became part of a small team based on Taiwan, keeping track of the Chinese communists, across the Formosan Straits from us.
Back from the army,
with a wealth of experiences and material, I launched my civilian writing career. I heard from many of the major magazines along with a hand-full of not-so-major publications. All rejections. I decided to do something that would bring income as I continued writing.
I decided to become an advertising copywriter…
just long enough to earn my chops as a “real” creative writer.
It wasn’t easy. I got the same response from agency after agency: “no ad experience, no job”. Then I tried Campbell-Ewald. They offered novices a “creative test”.
I took their test and was accepted as a trainee. I was given real assignments for real clients and my work was published in real publications, — even those that had earlier rejected my writing.
It was the beginning of a life-long affair.
I loved making ads. It was also the early 1960s, the days of the Mad Men, which added to the excitement.
A fifty-year career NOT replacing Hemingway.
Ernest was safe. I had changed my career goals. I created ads for cars, airlines, banks, ball bearings, carpets, tires, real estate, non-profits, health care, computers, retailers and auto suppliers.
I was having a ball.
In the late ‘60s, I moved to Young & Rubicam, continuing as a copywriter, then copy supervisor, eventually vice president, associate creative director.
My ads appeared in national publications, on radio and television. Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong and Johnny Cash sang my lyrics. Arthur Godfrey, Gary Burghoff and Orson Wells delivered my lines. All supported by millions of dollars of client ad budgets.
With twenty years of “big agency” experience under my belt, I was feeling an entrepreneurial itch to open my own agency. I did it in 1981.
Growth was rapid in terms of clients, staff, overhead and (thankfully), income. While I was president of the agency, I also retained the position of creative director and, of course, copywriter.
Becoming a coach.
As time went on, I began helping younger people in advertising. This increased when I opened my own agency. I enjoyed teaching and coaching. Turns out that I was also successful at it. All the while, I continued writing.
The end of a great run.
In 2009, my wife, who was our company’s CFO, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a debilitating disease with no cure. I shifted my focus from advertising to care-giving.
My wife died in 2010 and I “retired”. But, I continued to write. This time, a book for widowers who are dealing with the bewilderment and confusion of losing a wife.
I’m not about to re-start a full-service ad agency, but I sure miss the business. So I decided to return, offering clients my experience as a copywriter, marketing consultant and coach.
What can you gain from my fifty years experience in Advertising and Marketing?
Here’s a list. I can:
- Offer marketing consultation for your company and coach you and/or your people.
- Help plan and set goals for marketing campaigns.
- Offer creative direction.
- Write advertising copy.
- Call on a network of professionals when subcontract work is needed for social media, professional public relations, websites and Internet marketing.
- Help you select the right ad agency for your needs.
- Help marketers reach seniors (after all, I am one).
So, why would you contact me?
If you have a marketing department of one-person in need of a second pair of eyes and a bit more experience. That’s where the consultation and/or coaching come in.
If you have a single project ranging from brand development to a direct mail campaign to a brochure. That’s where my experience in creative direction, copywriting and network of professionals comes into play.
If you’re an owner, doing your own marketing and in need of someone to manage marketing while you manage your company I can help.