Me, You And The Didgeridoo

Saatchi & Saatchi’s Bob Isherwood, TV and radio jury chairman of this year’s Clio Awards, took the title of his festival talk, “Let Me Entertain You,” seriously. So, he opened the presentation last Tuesday in Miami by pulling out the very essence of a good time: the didgeridoo.

What is it, you ask? Good question. It’s an Aboriginal instrument, made from the branch of a eucalyptus tree, and comes from Australia, Isherwood’s native land. Sure, it makes low, droning noises. But Isherwood pointed out that it doesn’t matter how you get a person’s attention, so long as you get it.

Isherwood also peppered the discussion, which centered on the converging media and changing forms of advertising, with novelty acts. They included a man who was able to put a balloon up his nose, pull it out his mouth, and then blow it up from both ends. “It was early in the morning for that,” Isherwood says, admitting that some in the audience seemed “shocked.”

The didgeridoo, on the other hand, was a hit. “I was mobbed at the end of the speech,” he says. “I thought, ‘That’s what it must be like to be a real musician.’ “

Isherwood practiced breathing in through his nose and out through a straw in a glass of water on and off for two years to learn the circular breathing technique the instrument requires. But the talent has proved useful. Two months ago he played the instrument for 25 Saatchi chiefs of staff who had convened in New York.