Tesch Enters One Club’s Hall of Fame

ATLANTA When former Ally & Gargano art director Mike Tesch is inducted into the One Club’s Creative Hall of Fame tonight, he will be wearing a T-shirt with his jacket.

“I refuse to wear a tuxedo,” he said. The 62-year-old New York agency veteran will be honored with his copywriting partner, the late Patrick Kelly. Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, co-founders and principals of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, will also be inducted.

Tesch and Kelly’s selection was based on their early work for toymaker Tonka and Federal Express.

“Mike and Patrick infused real entertainment value into advertising, making commercials that were more closely watched, and much longer celebrated, than the programming that surrounded them,” said Mary Warlick, executive director of the One Club.

Tesch said he helped launch the overnight delivery service with a commercial featuring a fast-talking man he saw on the That’s Incredible TV show. The team’s most famous line for FedEx was “When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight,” he said.

“There was an era of very funny commercials where we poked fun at mid-level [bosses] and CEOs and presidents,” Tesch said. “They made people aware that those guys get panicked too.”

A new marriage (his third) brought Tesch to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five years ago as creative director of Harris Drury Cohen. He is now vice president, associate creative director at Kelley Swofford Roy in Coral Gables, Fla.

“The One Club is really the best show you can be part of,” said Tesch. “Because it’s judged by the best people in the business, by peers of mine that are doing fantastic stuff in the business.”