Books by ad execs are a dime a dozen; maybe that’s why so few of them get read by the general public. A possible exception might be the just-released memoir from BBDO honcho Phil Dusenberry, which at least has a catchier title than most advertising tomes that have come before it: Then We Set His Hair on Fire. (For those who don’t know, the title refers to a Pepsi commercial shoot with Michael Jackson in 1984 when the then-reputable pop star’s hair caught on fire after a pyrotechnic device misfired.) Reading this interview with Dusenberry in Newsweek, it’s easy to see why Publisher’s Weekly calls the book “practical if sometimes self-congratulatory.” Asked to name “the most memorable slogan in advertising history,” he names four—three from BBDO, for FedEx, General Electric and Visa, along with “Just do it” for Nike from Wieden + Kennedy. Still, he can more or less get away with it. He’s Phil Dusenberry, and we’re not.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor