Title: Funny Business: Moguls, Mobsters, Megastars, and the Mad, Mad World of the Ad Game
Author: Allen Rosenshine
ISBN: 13: 978-08253-0539-9
Allen Rosenshine has been named among the one hundred most influential people in advertising in the twentieth century by Advertising Age. In 1985 he became the CEO of BBDO and a year later he was instrumental in creating the world’s largest and most successful marketing communication company, Omnicom Group.
Rosenshine in his Funny Business: Moguls, Mobsters, Megastars, and the Mad, Mad World of the Ad Game presents a collection of writings about his personal and often humorous experiences in the world of advertising. Essays run the gamut from simple advice he received from Mohammed Ali to some weird ideas from a member of the Mafia. And as Rosenshine points out in his introduction, “no matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on advertising every year, and regardless of how seriously some people who run agencies make take themselves, there is at least much lunacy as logic where Madison Avenue crosses the streets of the corporate world.”
In the main, Rosenshine has written a funny book made up of short chapters that are a combination of creative non-fiction, autobiography and philosophical treatise reflecting many of the unusual and unstable characters he has encountered over the course of his advertising career where logic very often runs amuck. It should be mentioned that the book is not about the rules or strategies pertaining to advertising, as this was not the author’s intention and as he states, “frankly, I much more enjoy telling stories I think are funny.”
Some examples of Rosenshine’s humor is the time he met with an executive from AT& T who had been asked to watch an ad where an actor would be dialing a number on a telephone. The executive was horrified when he noticed that the phone was not held in accordance with the established procedures of his telephone company and why didn’t the advertising firm know of these procedures. Another time a CEO had fallen asleep during a presentation and Rosenshine was at a loss as to what to do. To his surprise, the executive awoke at the end of the presentation and without the slightest allusion as to what transpired, indicated to Rosenshine and his crew that his people have already approved the campaign and it was fine with him. After which he shook hands with everyone and showed them the way out of his office. Then there was the time where Bob Newhart was turned down as not being funny. In another instance a member of the mafia came up with the brilliant idea that the famous heavyweight champion, Joe Louis, should advertise for a bank, notwithstanding that Louis was bankrupt and heavily in debt to the IRS.
In the end what makes this book a delight is that Rosenshine has the knack of laughing at his experiences that make him essentially human and not at what makes him famous or successful. His message about the advertising game comes out very clear and although the business may be nerve wracking, ego wrenching and at times family breaking, as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously, you may even succeed in coming out on top.
The above review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Retired Title Attorney: Editor & Publisher of Bookpleasures. Here are Norm Goldman's Reviews