Dad’s Ad Advice & A Beautiful Woman.

There are both beautiful and awful things our parents have taught us that have become embedded in our minds. Some of these lessons last forever. These lessons and beliefs also become deep-seated and shape our future and destiny, love it or hate it.

This is why we hire therapists.

For me growing up in Brooklyn, the approved choices from my dad were either to learn a trade; plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, carpentry, automotive repair, or go into advertising.

My Dad’s intention, like most parents, was to advise a safe and secure financial future for his children. This makes perfect parental sense. The only alternative to the ‘blue collar’ trades for him, was Advertising.  He told me the little story why this became was one of his acceptable life trades. It had to do with a large open space and A Beautiful Woman.

Here’s the story:

In his younger years, right after high school, he worked in the mailroom at Hershey’s HQ in Manhattan. He was a packager and on some days he was also a messenger.
One day he was sent out to a Madison Avenue ad agency (he hadn’t remembered the name) to deliver a package. He got off the elevator and said: “The office floor was completely empty except for a receptionist seated at a desk all the way down at the other end.”


According to him, the floor had to be 8,000-10,000 sq. ft. and as he walked past the columns, windows, down the center. As he got closer to the reception desk, he recalled: “She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life.”

As he neared the desk, she stood, smiled and said: “Hello. How are you?” He said he was so nervous, hands shaking, speechless, and just handed her the package and paper to sign, turned and left, sweating and shaking.

“I see all these creative ads on TV and in the newspapers. I still don’t understand how they could afford to keep an entire floor, open and empty—just to make an impression— but, one thing is for sure, they have a lot of money. ‘Advertising Pays‘.” he said.

Here’s what my Dad probably saw:
Woman Talks on Office Phone While Seated at Desk



As a teenager, here’s what I probably imagined:
What I imagined

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

To say he was intimidated by both the space and the woman would be an understatement. Knowing what we know about ad agencies and imPRESSions this, woman and space, was 100% intentional and designed to impress any and all visitors to the agency.

It conveyed affluence and was intimidating. This effect worked like a charm.

Woman smokes air

By good fortune I’ve met, studied and worked with some amazing advertising folk. Some of the Mad Men of Madison Avenue. If you think lawyers have “know-it-all” attitude and deserve to die, you should meet us. I believe we beat lawyers in the Top Ten of the most hated occupations. Either way, both lawyers and advertising people come after politicians according to recent polls so, we are good. 😀

I can tell you firsthand that we AdHeads are a very different breed of human being. We are ‘out there’ from the perspective of the common man and it’s easy to explain why. AdHeads or AdHoles, if I may, are savvy and see society from a psycho-sociological viewpoint. We see the culture as multifaceted and purely segmented. The old adage: “Different strokes for different folks” applies. We think of people holistically in bucket loads and in cupfuls.

We are a necessary evil. In a capitalist society, we are essential.

In 20 years of doing this (since 1994) most social codes, ideologies, political systems and whatnot are very successful advertising and PR constructs. These beliefs are deeply enforced and reinforced by the media, publishing world and educational system.

It’s an advertiser or publicist’s job to convince you to buy into these constructs. Whether we like it or not, this is also happening politically.




A country is a great example of a make-believe construct.  It’s an concept.  Metaphorically speaking, if a concept is a tree trunk then the leaves and branches become ideas branching off a concept.  Political parties that exist under this “country” concept are just ideas—ideologies and ideas. They are beliefs.  Some people get quite adamant about their beliefs, concepts and ideas.

One example is:
TV, Radio and Newspapers are a one way communication medium. They can project questions to you from TV but they’ll never be able to hear your answer. It’s a One-Way message and a one-way medium, from they TO you.

When this medium (TV) provides you with what the answer should be, they are making a sale. They are also using your trust in them to influence you.

Advertising Pays.

Here’s another example:
When a press release comes out of the Pentagon or White House saying that there is factual evidence of a chemical war or illegal weapons use, we can’t really ever know for sure if this is true. In God We Trust. Unless you are there in person to see it with your own two eyes, you never really know.

You trust these media outlets like you would a family member or friend or sureogate parent. This phenomena strikes me as odd since you probably have never met any of these people yet you trust in this person you see on TV. It is strange.

If I asked you: “Would you ever trust a person that you have never met?”Your answer may be “No.”

If your answer is “Yes”, I would expect that you would have some form of criteria to rationalize your trust. Maybe this criteria is determined by an authority figure with whom you have a long standing history such as a news station anchor, patriarchal or matriarchal figures, like Walter Cronkite or Oprah.

Advertising Pays.  

If the latter is the case, then publicity is what brought you to accept these people as authority figures.

Publicity is what we do. We should be your publicists.




In 1995, while my father was still alive, I’ll never forget his face when he walked into my design firm on Fifth Avenue and E21st St. He was blown away. I had 1,800 square feet on the 13th Floor on one of the most famous avenues in the world. I was still only in my second semester at SVA.

“Why did you get such a big office?” he asked.

“Advertising Pays.” I thought.




Thank you for reading.




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