There was little to suggest a wake last Tuesday as former D'Arcy and Benton & Bowles staffers packed into La Maga nette, an old B&B watering hole on Manhattan's East Side. The previously scheduled reunion came on the heels of news that Publicis is shuttering the group's alma mater. Rather than casting a pall over the evening, the recent develop ments served to reaffirm the purpose of the gathering as attendees rallied around former B&B CEO Jack Bowen and kept alive memories of their days at the shop.
"This was not about the death of an agency. It was very much a celebration of something that lives in all of us still," says B&B alum Vicky Amon, one of the event's organizers.
More than 200 people attended, including many who flew in from as far away as Seattle and Los Angeles. Former Young & Rubicam Worldwide chairman Ed Vick and former General Motors marketing honcho Phil Guarascio were among the B&B alumni who showed up. Speaking to the crowd, Bowen expressed disappointment about D'Arcy's demise, blaming it on the pursuit of money. He expressed publicly a sentiment that was very much a part of the night's private buzz—that former top managers like Roy Bostock deserve blame for selling out staffers and clients for personal gain. Bostock, who was not at the event, did not return calls.