Lessons Learned from a New CEO

After more than a decade of managing a marketing communications agency as a partner and chief creative director, making the step up to CEO shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? I believed this as I prepared to step into the shoes of our retiring CEO, John Hawkins, the agency’s founder and my friend of 30-some years. I didn’t envision much changing—or needing to change—at Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C), aside from my carving out a role and asserting my own style. I quickly discovered I was off in this thinking. John retired on December 31, 2016, and before we reached mid-January, my point of view had changed.

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The Super Bowl spot that changed the world

Happy 30th birthday, Mac.

Happy 30th birthday, Mac.

I had the TV on Sunday morning as I sat down to write about an Advertising Age article claiming that 80% of Super Bowl ads flop. In the background I hear Charles Osgood, host of CBS Sunday Morning, mention that this week marks the 30th anniversary of Apple’s famous “1984” Super Bowl commercial. A commercial that ran only one time, mind you. That is the antithesis of a Super Bowl ad flop. Thirty years later and people are still talking about it. Amazing. Do you think that in 2043 people will be marking the anniversary of the Go Daddy commercial in which supermodel Bar Refaeli makes out with the nerdy Walter? Not very likely.

The one-minute commercial — directed by noted director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) — was made for a then-unheard-of production budget of $900,000. It went on to garner millions of dollars worth of free publicity, as news programs rebroadcast it that night. It was quickly hailed by many in the advertising industry as a masterwork. Advertising Age named it the 1980s “Commercial of the Decade,” and it continues to rank high on lists of the most influential commercials of all time. “1984” was never ever broadcast again, adding to its mystique.Read full post...