(Vice-President, Copy Supervisor, Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc.)
chuukyuu What made you pursue the career of copywriter?
Mr. Dillon When I got out of the Navy after World War ?, I wanted to writer fiction but had not been very successful at it. I happened to look up an old girl friend, just to say, " Hello." I told her I was interested in writing and she got me a job as her boss at General Electric, where I started as an editor of technical manuals.
chuukyuu Will you tell me your career history before came to Doyle Dane Bernbach?
Mr. Dillon I was with General Electric for three years as an editor and sales promotion writer. I went to Syracuse for about a year and worked as a writer and production man for the Porter-Cable Machine Tool Company. Then I started with Fuller, Smith & Ross in 1950. I was with Fuller, Smith for ten and half years as copywriter and account executive. The last five years, however, were spent mainly writing copy.
chuukyuu What was the size and billing of DDB at the time?
Mr. Dillon I don't remember. That was in 1961. I think there were about 30 writers, but that's about all I remember in terms of size.
chuukyuu What kind of training did you get then?
Mr. Dillon I didn't get any training here in the formal sense. I was hired as an experienced writer and I started working.
Even so, working for people like Bill Bernbach and David Reider is a kind of training in itself. There's no formula here. You do ads the way that you do them best.
chuukyuu Would you tell me about the commercial of Cerebral Palsy?
Mr. Dillon The Cerebral Palsy came to us last year about this time and wanted a campaign for 1969. Their drive usually begins in December or January.
In the past, they had done the usual sort of charity advertising. They had happy slogan---"Happiness is helping"---and they preferred to little children smiling and hobbling about, obviously getting better. The theory way all well and good. People wanted to believe their money was getting some results. We did not agree with this sort of approach. We felt, in the first place, that when a charity is advertising, it has pretty stiff-competition. People will only give to so many charities. And there are a lot of charities that are closer to most homes than Cerebral Palsy.
The blind, the heart association, cancer and sort of thing. We also felt that Palsy was pretty unknown. People got it confused with muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.
We felt we had to do two jobs. One, we had to find a way to let people know what this was, and two, we had to dramatize it.
What we did is quite different from anything the Celebral Palsy had done before. This commercial just concerns a telephone call from a young man to his mother. He's trying to explain that his baby was born with Celebral palsy. His mother does not understand. She’s sure that this is a sign of insanity or something. You only hear the man's side of the story. It's clear that his mother still doesn't understand. At the end, the young man sees another man waiting to use the phone. The young man just say, "Have a cigar. I just had a baby." And he walks away. I think we'll probably get more attention for Celebral Palsy this way than with smiling children.
There was a liberty we took with commercial. Generally cerebral palsy can't be diagnosed at the time of birth. We did take that liberty as dramatic license, sort of the way cowboys always seem to have more than six bullets in their six-guns.