Degree(s): BJ '59
Six decades in the mercurial world of advertising…how did you manage to survive?
Luck for sure. I was fortunate to work with a lot of talented people and great clients. To pay tribute to all of them, I just finished a memoir available on Amazon and Kindle. Its called: “Pickett, Plunkett and Puckett.” The quirky title stems from a life-altering experience I had working on the Missourian. Hopefully, it’s worth a read.
Why did you decide to go into advertising?
Initially, I wanted to be a sports writer. But somehow the allure of all the exciting aspects of advertising – film, sound, design, copywriting, even salesmanship – beckoned. And though I’m still an avid sports page reader, I’ve never looked back.
What was J-School like in 1959?
It was the 50th Anniversary year. We were treated to a bevy of famous speakers. People like Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman (I even had the honor of helping escort him to the podium during the World Press Congress held in the old basketball arena). And J-School, for me at least, revolved around the Missourian, both as a reporter and an ad salesman. Experiences then stayed with me my entire career.
How has the ad world changed over the years?
The computer changed everything. Buying media, researching concepts, producing TV commercials and magazine ads and, perhaps most of all, the Internet – no industry has been more impacted by the digital age than advertising.
Working for an agency vs. owning one…what’s different?
When your signature’s on the bottom of the paycheck, people pay more attention to your opinions. And, seriously, I’m far more aware of all the people and their families who count on my partner and me. The worst part is dealing with layoffs. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened a lot.
What is your favorite J-School memory?
Everything I did there was something I wanted to do (and was half-decent at doing). That, and being surrounded by fellow students who felt the same way. A number of them remain friends to this day.
What advice would you give to current ad sequence students?
Perhaps I’m a little hard-nosed about it but if you don’t have a passion for advertising you ought to look elsewhere, because you’re wasting your time. The business is not just three-martini lunches. If you’re not passionate, you can’t be resilient to the inevitable low points.
What will you miss most when you finally retire?
The complimentary magazine subscriptions.
Updated: November 10, 2011