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Season Five.
"Dynamic Duos: The Famous Partnerships in Advertising"

Airs Saturday April 2nd and Thursday April 7th, 2011

This week on the Age of Persuasion, we look at "Dynamic Duos" - those rare ad agency/client relationships that resulted in some of the most famous advertising of all time. We'll examine the relationship between Nike founder Phil Knight and his ad agency creative director Dan Wieden, Apple's Steve Job and Creative Director Lee Clow, temperamental winery owner Julio Gallo and his legendary creative director and tough guy, Hal Riney, and we'll tell the story of the creative director who created a Hall of Fame campaign around the fact his client looked like a chicken.

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Meet the legendary David Ogilvy:

David Ogilvy.jpeg

He once said, "Search all the parks in all your cities, you'll find no statues of committees."

He was referring to the fact that most great advertising is created by a very small team of people - not a crowd. As a matter of fact, many of the most famous campaigns of all time were created as a result of the personal relationship between the advertiser's CEO and the Creative Director of the ad agency. While those relationships are rare, they are fascinating.

One of the most interesting was the relationship between adman Hal Riney and the CEO of J & E Gallo Wineries, Ernest Gallo.

Riney was a Hall of Fame adman, having created many fine campaigns in his career. He was also a tough cookie. He was outspoken, confident and barrel-chested:

Hal Riney.jpeg

While on his honeymoon in Central America in 1982, terrorists stormed his plane. After a day on the tarmac, Riney got tired of waiting to be rescued, so he stormed the exit door and helped free many of the passengers. That should tell you everything you need to know about Hal Riney.

Ernest Gallo was infamous as being one of the toughest clients around. He had hired and fired almost every agency in existence, and was something of a tyrant when it came to his advertising:

Ernest Gallo.jpeg When he called Riney to pitch his account, Riney declined. But Gallo persisted, and eventually Riney gave in, pitched, and won. Riney, knowing Gallo's reputation, decided to try and forge a close, personal relationship with Gallo. He knew it was the only way he could get good work approved. His hunch was correct, Gallo came to respect Riney, because Riney could go toe-to-toe with the mercurial Gallo. That respect allowed Riney to create some beautiful work for the winery:

Riney then created the famous "Bartles & Jaymes" campaign for Gallo wine coolers. It was a sensation, both inside the ad business, and with the general public:

Nobody could believe that Gallo had approved work that good - but it was because of the relationship Riney had cultivated with Gallo. Gallo trusted Riney, and Riney was able to leverage that trust to do good work.

Another dynamic duo was Frank Perdue and Ed McCabe. Perdue was in the chicken business, and he wanted to brand his chickens so he could charge more per pound. It was an interesting strategy, because nobody had ever branded chickens before.

Ed McCabe was the brash, award-winning copywriter and partner in upstart agency Scali, McCabe, Sloves in New York:

Ed McCabe.jpg

Perdue was obsessed with his chickens, and was passionate when talking about them. So McCabe decided to put him in the commercials. He reasoned that Perdue was credible and articulate. McCabe also thought Perdue had two other things going for him:

He looked like a chicken. And sounded like one, too:

Frank Perdue.jpg

Perdue would only accept that from someone he respected. He was also skeptical about being in the commercials. But McCabe talked him into it, and the resulting campaign was one of the most famous of the 1970s, and is listed on Advertising Age's Best Campaigns of All Time list:

The campaign vaulted Perdue Chickens to become one of the premier chicken companies in the United States. Ed McCabe understood Frank Perdue, and was able to capture the essence of the company in the ads. Once the commercials became wildly popular, Perdue bonded to McCabe, and the rest is history.

One of the most famous, ongoing partnerships today is the reason Nike advertising is so outstanding. Nike founder Phil Knight hated advertising:

Phil Knight.jpeg

But needed to advertise. Dan Wieden, of agency Wieden & Kennedy, was an adman who hated (most) advertising. When they met, Knight shook his hand and said, "I hate advertising" and Wieden said, "Me, too."

Dan Wieden.jpeg

It was a match made in heaven. The resulting advertising was a kind of anti-advertising. It didn't look, feel or sound like anything else on the air. Even the aggressive slogan "Just Do It" didn't sound like anything you'd heard before:

NIke's advertising was aspirational, courageous, introspective and it wasn't always upbeat. It could only have been born of two men who didn't really like the state of advertising.

Nike changed the face of the ad business, and it helped make Nike the number one footware brand in the world.

No show about creative partnerships would be complete without including Apple's Steve Jobs and TBWA/Chiat/Day Creative Director Lee Clow. Jobs is the maverick visionary who co-founded Apple and helped revolutionize computing. He is tough, uncompromising, and has one uniform - a black turtleneck and jeans:

Steve Jobs.jpeg

Lee Clow, arguably the most influential Creative Director of the last 30 years, had a track record of creating defining moments for brands like the Engergizer Bunny, Nissan and Addidas. He has one uniform too - shorts, tee-shirts and flip flops.

Lee Clow.jpeg

When Apple launched the groundbreaking Macintosh in early 1984, Jobs insisted on a television commercial that would be every bit as revolutionary as the computer. Clow and his team delivered:

"1984" is considered to be the best television commercial of all time. It only ran once in the 1983 Super Bowl, and got so much attention that it didn't have to run again. Jobs and Clow have a rare deal - Clow can present anything he wants to Jobs, no matter how crazy or outrageous. (I can't imagine IBM having that deal with their agency). That's why the partnership has been responsible for some of the best advertising of our times. Including the beautifully written "Think Different" campaign:

Of all the icons Clow presented to Jobs for this campaign, Jobs only turned one down.

That icon... was Steve Jobs.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Apple in the next few years, as Jobs has stepped down due to health issues, and Clow has stepped down from running the Apple advertising.

One of the most famous dynamic duos in advertising may have come to the end of their road together.