This 2013 Ad About Michael Wolff Is Now Hilariously Topical

USA Today had warned execs about the Trump tell-all author

The author of Trump tell-all "Fire and Fury" was the star of a USA Today ad. USA Today
Headshot of David Griner

Michael Wolff’s name has saturated cable news and social media for the past week, thanks to his bombshell book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

While Wolff is well known and somewhat notorious in media circles, many outside of journalism are likely just learning about him for the first time as he becomes one of President Trump’s most high-profile critics of the moment (and target of the president’s late-night rage tweets).

Wolff’s sudden, polarizing popularity—not to mention the nature of his book—makes it especially interesting to go back to a 2013 ad USA Today made to promote Wolff’s business column. In the brief spot, which was inescapable for anyone riding New York taxis at the time, we see an exec realizing with panic that the Wolff is at the door:

From the executive’s abject terror at hearing Wolff’s name to the sprinting scream of “This is off the record!”, the ad seems like it was about five years ahead of its time. The tagline, “Read Michael Wolff, and thank your lucky stars he’s not writing about you,” might have felt a bit self-indulgent at the time, but time has proven it prescient.

Wolff, a veteran magazine writer, editor and columnist, has worked for a variety of publications, including a one-year stint as editor of Adweek from 2010 to 2011.

When the marketing campaign for his USA Today business column launched in 2013, we asked Wolff about his thoughts on starring in an ad.

His response was a one-line email: “All in a day’s shamelessness.”

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."