Sunday, November 14, 2010

"If you do not buy this campaign we will jump out of the window!"

That is how my partner for many years ended his presentation to the head of Coca-Cola for Europe.

John had probably just read George Lois’s book.

This was London in the 70’s.

After presenting six new commercials, done from the squatting position, a little like a praying mantis, while smoking a Woodbine cigarette and shaking his hands in the air in front of his head, John was very intense and passionate when he presented, he managed to get the head client to squat as well.

During the course of his presentation, the whole room of various brand managers as well as our account guys got down in the squat position. This was triggered by the head of Coca-Cola assuming the position first, not necessarily by the quality of the ads, even though they were pretty good. The intensity of the moment manifested in this amusingly ridiculous scenario.

I managed to avoid the squat position, since John was in complete control of that group. I enjoyed his act, even though I had seen it before and could never hold the squatting position for very long. I was always amazed at John’s ability to so mesmerize our clients in this way.

I did react when John volunteered us to jump out of the window if the commercials were rejected. It seemed a bit much since he had never taken such a dramatic posture before.

Our offices were on Howland Street, near the Post Office Tower, McCann had six floors including the basement.

As soon as John made his closing remarks, I started to laugh, not nervously, but out loud since we were in one of the conference rooms in the basement!

We would have had to jump up ten feet to impale ourselves on the spikes surrounding the lower floor.

John knew exactly what he was doing and was playing the whole meeting for a wacky opportunity to use this line.

No New York ad men were going to be more passionate than us.

John gave me a conspiratorial smile when I started to laugh; reminding me that the room we were in was in the basement. An iconic moment.

We sold the ads.


  1. So many zany moments to recollect. I enjoyed hearing them all!

  2. Working in an arena with so many clever minds going all at once and interchanging ideas had to be very stimulating. It must have been very challenging to figure out ways to convince people to buy things they didn't need or shouldn't use. But that is the way of advertising. Nice piece. Funny and very well written.

  3. I have heard this crap before, but you are entitled to your misguided opinion.

  4. Great story. His squat position was a real trademark.