"You mind if I eat my lunch while we talk?" asks Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist of The New York Times. It's indicative of how busy things have gotten after 10 years on the job. "The pace is so much faster," he says. "It used to be one big account would move every week. Now it's three or four a day. It's a constant challenge to keep up."
But keep up he does, with energy and style. Elliott, 48, joined the Times on May 6, 1991. His first story—on Leo Burnett winning Sony—ran the next day, and he has chased the news, and wrapped it in a distinctive, pun-friendly prose, ever since. Whether breakfasting at the Royalton, filing daily reports from the 4A's conference or delivering his periodic "20 Questions" column, Elliott is rarely out of the action. "It's been 10 years, 10 minutes, 10 centuries all at the same time," he says. The most rewarding element, he adds, is the "fantastic feedback I get from readers every day. They're involved. They're lively. It's an instant response."
"I think he's the best columnist we've had in advertising," says Donny Deutsch. "He's a great journalist and a great guy, also."
"He's spin-proof," Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners' Jonathan Bond adds, perhaps a bit ruefully. "Even when you tell him the truth, he doesn't believe it. He's perfect for the job."
Asked how long he might occupy the coveted Times seat, Elliott demurs. "I'll just keep on truckin', as they used to say."