Earning His Stripes

Frank Anselmo wants to get something straight first off: He is not one of those lunatic, nerdy überfan types who latch onto a band like the White Stripes and obsess about getting their grubby little paws on, I don’t know, a piece of Jack White’s hair or anything like that.

OK, now that that’s out of the way … Anselmo, a 28-year-old art director at BBDO in New York, does admit that yes, he is a very, very, very big White Stripes fan—such a fan, in fact, that he barely hesitated when he came across a mint-condition 1965 Airline guitar going for $3,000 recently on eBay. “Believe me, I don’t have money like that to throw away,” he says. And yet he knew the 1965 Airline is the guitar Jack White plays. He knew that it’s extremely rare—it was available only that one year and only through Montgomery Ward’s catalog. (“If you were a millionaire and you were looking for one in good condition, you probably wouldn’t find it,” he says.) And he knew that White’s 1965 Airline had been looking pretty shabby. So Anselmo bit his lip, plunked down the cash and contacted the White Stripes camp. Soon enough, he was backstage at Roseland on West 52nd Street, handing the ax to his idol after a White Stripes show.

“I told him—these were my exact words—’You’re the only one who deserves to have this,’ ” says Anselmo, who has worked on clients including Guinness and the New Jersey Devils at BBDO. White was ecstatic. Says Anselmo: “He gave me a big hug and said, ‘Frank, when I was a kid and I did something good, my dad would say, “Jackie, you’re a gentleman and a scholar.” ‘ “