Laughs from the Past

When I started this blog, I wasn’t entirely sure what the purpose of it was. Like I said, I’m not a real big “Look at me!” kind of guy. I think I’ve taken like two selfies in my life. And one of them wasn’t even of me.

But as I’m finding my voice, I’m realizing that this blog is just serving as a means of having a conversation with you. You and me, one on one. And in most conversations, I’m going to want to try to make you laugh. I just think life should be as fun as we can make it. 

I’m saying all this to prepare you for what’s ahead. A new series, if you will.

Yes, I’m still going to keep the stories business-related. And yes, I’m still going to attempt to provide some useful insights. For example, I plan on writing one on How to Write an Ad at some point. But mostly, I just want to make you laugh.

The impetus for all this is I found a file while I was looking for something specific to share with you on the kinds of copy changes I get from clients. I finally found it after going through several file folders of saved kids stuff, dune buggy building articles, home improvement ideas and agency stuff.

Most of the agency stuff is together, and if I sorted it all out and put it all together, it would make for one thick folder. I’m not a pack rat, but I do tend to save some of the funnier things. There’s usually a bulletin board or wall or something in an agency where people will just stick stuff up. After it’s been there for a few days (or weeks or months), I know everyone’s seen it and laughed about it, so I’ll take it down and toss it in a file, before someone else takes it down and tosses it. My agency file is all the stuff I’ve saved from the basura over the years.

And I’m going to share some of it with you now and again. If it was good for a laugh then, it’s probably good for a laugh now. I hope. Some of it is too “you had to be there”, but I’ll do my best to discern.

I’ve saved this stuff from the very beginning of my career, so the first thing I’m going to share with you is the first thing I saved, and the first thing that made me realize what kind of business I was in. In fact, that’s probably why I started saving these. It’s like listening to a favorite song again or watching a favorite movie. I couldn’t bear the idea of this gem of a laugh being tossed and forgotten, never to be laughed at again.

And just what kind of a business was I in? Well, going from Tower Records to a corporate job where people wore suits and ties (the AEs did, anyway), I thought there would be some professional code of conduct. And yeah, there kind of is, but it’s not like a real company. For example, I had a buddy at Toshiba, and he told me he raised his voice slightly to someone in a meeting, and he got called into HR, reprimanded, and had to go apologize to that person. Holy cow. I know I’d never make it in the corporate world. I don’t know how any normal human being does.

You’ve heard me mention Manual Reyes. He owned and ran Reyes Artworks, which served as the production studio at my first agency, Salvati Montgomery Sakoda. (Phil Salvati was the Account Executive, Scott Montgomery was the Copywriter, Ken Sakoda was the Art Director.) They were two separate companies, but they shared space and we were all essentially one team. Scott and Manual used to joke back and forth about how ugly each other was. For example, Scott would come into work and say his back was killing him. And Manual would say, “Yeah? Your face is killing me.”

Still, it’s one thing to joke in the hallways, and another to post things in public places where everyone could see. Even at Tower Records, you weren’t allowed to do anything like that. So when I saw that even the agency principals were not above publicly humiliating each other, well, I was even happier with the career path I had chosen, and I knew I was definitely in the right business.

Enjoy this laugh from when I was a junior copywriter, and my role model and mentor was the awesome Scott Montgomery.


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