Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc.
Vice-president, Copy Supervisor
chuukyuu While you kept writing for Ohrbach's, how many different teammate art directors did you have?
Protas Well, not too many different ones. I'd say there were probably four altogether. Charlie Piccirillo, who is back on the account now, worked with me for a while. So did Gary Geyer.
chuukyuu When you have a new art director to work with, do you somewhat change your way of doing things to suit him?
Protas I work with an art director as a friend. And as a laughing companion in fact. I've found it's important to laugh as much as you worry in doing ads.
Charlie and I had a marvelous time together. Gary and I had perhaps less laughter and more work as the account grew more complex, but we still had a lot of fun. I've never had a problem in this change of art directors. A lot of the credit I give to them, of course; but in general, if you're mature enough, and if you understand people enough, you can adapt. It really doesn't matter what the personalities are as long as there is some kind of mental rapport. There's a kind of happy challenge, in fact, in adjusting to a new combination of talent and temperament.
chuukyuu Please describe in detail how you proceed in your teamwork with the art director?
Protas The teamwork with the art director, I think, is paramount. That's probably true for most of the people around here. The first thing you and the art director do when you get a requisition is to look at each other and say, "My God, we'll never get it." After that you sit and you come up with some that you think are perhaps O. K. You look at them the next morning and you think, "How could I have liked. that? It's awful!" And you keep going until something happens. There really isn't much difference, I shouldn't think, in the way most-of us work. What the best teams have is the good sense to do what has to' be done first: get the story. Digging for the facts, for background. And I'll never do that alone. A friend of mine at another agency recently said, "I took my art director to a client meeting today." It was obvious he had condescended to do something different. I will never, as a copywriter, go off to the client to get the story and bring it back and feed it to the art director. The art director is 50% of the muscle; a good art director is as apt to come up with a smash headline as a good writer is to come up with a visual. As a team we go off together to dig out the facts. And we want everything. You've got to get aheadful of information: the background, the client's thinking, the feeling he has for his product, every last little thing he can tell you. A client will sometimes answer aquestion with "You don't have to know that. You're not going to put it in the ad." Not true. We have to know everything, whether it goes in the ad or not. It's all part of the texture of the problem we're working on. Anything and everything may feed into the final idea. As a matter of fact, the client may trigger an ad without even realizing it. Clients, I've found, must be encouraged not to censor the material they give us. Most of the time, of course, they understand this; in fact, you sometimes have a problem turning the faucet' off once you've turned it on.