klein’s brush with wealth

Put these snacks in the order they were first introduced to the public, starting with the earliest: a) Ritz Bits Sand wiches; b) Twinkies; c) Fig Newtons; d) Kellogg’s Pop Tarts.

Even a Nabisco brand manager might flub that one. (The answer is c, b, d, a.) Steve Klein certainly did—a mistake that cost the founder of Web media company iballs a chance at the Hot Seat on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire last week.

Ah, the irony—an adman choking on a question about brand introductions. But Klein puts things in perspective. “It wasn’t life or death,” he says. “It wasn’t my money at stake.” Still, he can’t resist taking a jab at his fellow contestants. “The guy from the previous show took up about half the time,” he says ruefully.

Klein credits his chance at a million bucks to his father. “I don’t really watch the show,” he admits. “But my dad called a while back and said, ‘For once, listen to your father. Call this number.’ ” He did, and got past the various phone quizzes—eventually getting a call while biking that he’d been chosen to appear. Considering his background, he figured he might have a shot.

“I’m a magazine junkie,” he admits. “I read everything from the Enquirer to the Economist. In the ad industry, you’re paid to keep up with everything.”

Sadly, it wasn’t enough.

But on the whole, Klein says he had a fun time. “I’m actually one of the 30 finalists for the fall taping of Survivor,” he says. “… I’m only kidding.” Bettmann/Corbissheep: Robert Dowling/Corbischuck gonzales