Keith Reinhard’s Last Wednesday

The play Any Wednesday, about a man who uses his mistress’s apartment as a tax write-off, ran for two years on Broadway in the ’60s. The memo “Any Wednesday,” written by DDB chairman Keith Reinhard, ran weekly for 23 years. Reinhard put down his pen last month, deciding that was long enough.

“[CEO] Ken Kaess has done a really good job. I felt this was one small way to signal that I was taking a little step back,” says Reinhard, who began the ruminative 350-word column in 1980, when he was named president of DDB Chicago. “I wasn’t allowed to write ads anymore, so I had to get that creativity out a different way. I felt people needed an encouraging word in the middle of the week.”

“Any Wednesday” featured an image of a torn-out sheet of lined, spiral-bound paper, with breezy observations about the ad industry written sideways on the page. “There was a great Spanish poet named Juan Ramón Jiménez, who said, ‘When they give you ruled paper, write the other way,’ ” Reinhard explains.

There was also a stock character, “Vic” (as in, “very important client”), who would make his own piquant observations. For example, Vic would often inveigh against the scourge of jargon. “Whenever someone uses jargon, I suspect they’re trying to sell me something, rather than trying to help improve my business,” he would say. Vic will make his first appearance outside the memo next month when Reinhard “interviews” him for The Advertiser, the ANA’s magazine.

“I got a lot of great feedback,” Reinhard says. “I did get flak once for using the word ‘intrusive’ as a positive. One time I printed the winning design for a paper-airplane contest on the back, in case anybody felt I was wasting paper on the front side.”