It was always clear in the early '80s that if your advertising stock was high, then there were only three places you could work. The Italian Mafia Trifecta: Ammirati, Scali, or Ally Gargano. If you were looking or thinking about looking, you waited until you got that call. They produced the best work and, obviously, hired the best creative talent in town.
As a young A.E. at Scali, I was surrounded by creative greatness. I don't remember why I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut and soak it all in, but I was. I could never say the same about some of the senior account people. There were individual groups that you fought to get in. If you were not so lucky, then you got Batman and Robin. You know who you are.
At about this moment, I remember a Richard Nixon quote; yes, that one. He said, "any change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist." We had one particularly awful client, consistently on the verge of bankruptcy or downgraded, while Drexel Lambert used its junk bond status as investment fodder.
Why, I wondered, did they bother with an outside agency? They had some ridiculous, silly middle-aged woman being treated like royalty by the senior account people previously mentioned who couldn't distinguish her GRPs from a GPS. And the work that was created was awful. Awful work from Scali? How did that happen? No one stood up to that woman, that's why.
But there was one Nordic God at the time, famous beyond measure for his talent as well as his looks. He glided through hallways while mere mortals stepped aside for him. He was my Baldr, and probably every other female AE or junior writer or art director's. His work is legendary.
He was pissed when I brought him the print ad to sign off on because no one else would. Of course he refused. This wasn't anyone's ad except the client's and Batman's. Batman went downstairs to have it out with the Nordic God. Yes, there was some very loud screaming. My Baldr was becoming Thor.
I witnessed a chair being thrown at the little man's head. A beautiful thing. There was a certain measure of calmness and justice in that Miller chair floating across the large office. It missed its intended mark, but not the message. We went on to produce some better work for this client.
(SP talks about the good old days...before Selfies, Facebook, or Twitter. When advertising was the profession most people did not get a degree in, but some of the smartest and most creative ended up there. Names will never be listed, but you know who you are.)