Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc. Vice President, Copy Group Supervisor
chuukyuu Please tell us about the time you came to JOIO DDB. What made you pursue the career of copywriting?
Mr. Kollewe Ever since 1 was in junior high school 1 wanted to be a writer. So, naturally I majored in English and Journalism in college. But by the time I graduated I already had a wife and a daughter. And when I was offered $50 a week as a cub reporter on a local newspaper I had to turn it down because the money just wasn't enough to support a family.
After someone told me that advertising paid better, I tried to get a job with an agency. But because I had no experience, no one would hire me.
So I decided to get my experience on the client's side. I joined the International Nickel Company and spent three years in their advertising department. Then I moved to J.M. Mathes, a medium-sized agency and spent about a year there working on the Union Carbide account.
After that, I left New York City to work in a small advertising agency in New Jersey. It was a bad move. I missed the city and the opportunity to meet with other advertising people. And the job itself was not what I was led to believe it would be.
But luck was with me. Because one day I saw an ad in the New York Times that said Doyle Dane Bernbach was looking for a copywriter. I answered it immediately by sending in some samples of my work. A few days later I got a call to come in for an interview. I did, and I was hired.
That was seven years ago.
chuukyuu What was the size (number of employees and the annual billing) of DDB when you came to join the agency?
Mr. Kollewe At the time I came, the agency was billing about 60 million dollars. Today, we bill somewhere around 270 million.
chuukyuu What kind of training, if any, did you get when you first came to DDB?
Mr. Kollewe Well, it wasn't training in the formal sense of the word. You learned by doing...by being exposed to the thinking of really great supervisors. They were absolutely terrific when it came to helloing and inspiring younger writer. Their criticism not only improved your work, but helped you set higher standards for yourself.
I don't think I ever walked out of a supervisor's office without learning something---about advertising, or about myself. You could say it was a natural reaction, because don't forget, these people were some of the biggest stars in the business and you respected their names before you ever met the people themselves.
But beyond that, what was even more important, was the respect they showed the people who worked for them. No matter how severe their criticism of your work. They never made you feel dumb or stupid. Instead, ther inspired you to go back and do a better job, because they let young know they believed you could do it. That, I found out, is one of the secrets of being a good supervisor: Respect the people who work for you. And let them know it.
chuukyuu Currently you are writing for Rat. Please tell us about this' account.
Mr. Kollewe It's not an account. It never was. It was simply a single ad done, I guess, about three and a half years ago. At that time, the United States Congress was asked to consider a bill which would have given $20 million to the cities to help control rats in the slums. Congress wasn't interested. They voted down. not the bill, but the mere suggestion that they even talk about it---which I think was poor judgment on their part. Certainly poor public relations. Because that action stirred up a lot of people all over the country.
Burt Steinhauser---one of our top art directors----and I, felt strongly about this being a mistake. Certainly, out of all the billions of dollars this country spends, we thought, it could afford $20 million to at least start making a dent in the problem.
So what we did was to create an ad that would put some pressure on Congress, to reconsider the bill.
It wasn't an agency ad, and it wasn't an agency account. It was just something we did on our own, along with a lot of other people. For example, the photograph was taken free, the type was middot;
set free-all the work on the ad was done without pay. Everybody pitched in.
The result was that even though we only ran the ad in two publications a small magazine and an out-of-town newspaper---the word got around about it.
Bobby Kennedy became interested in it, and quite a few-other people in Washington became aware of it. It had its effect. The next time the rat-control bill came up, Congress passed it. We even got a letter later on from President Johnson in which he said that he thought the ad had an awful lot to do with Congress changing its mind.
I suppose you could call it a form of political blackmail. Because the ad listed all the Congressmen who voted on the bill and how they voted. We asked people to write to them. We said if your Congressman was for it, tell him you support him. And if he was against it, tell him that he was wrong. It was blackmail in that sense.
But it was certainly legal blackmail, because those men represent everybody in this country and you have a perfect right to tell them how you feel. Actually, I think that they themselves probably would eventually have changed their minds without the ad.
The ad, perhaps, was something more dramatic than just getting letters from individuals.
Cut this out and put it in bed next to your child.
Go ahead. Try it, if you have the stomach for it. Lay it next to your baby and 1et him play with it.
Then you have a lot more imagination than some of the members of our House of Representatives.
They don't even think real rats are anything to worry about.
That's why they laughed when they killed a bill that would have give $ 40 million to our cities and states to help them pay for rat-control programs in our slums.
But the real shame is that they didn't even vote. on the bill itself. They only voted on a rule that asked them to consider it.
And they voted 207 to 176 against it.
They had their reasons, of course, Economy was the most quoted one. They felt this country couldn't, afford $40 million.
Yet they were told that rats cause us an estimated $900 million worth of damage each year.
Dose that make economic sense?
They were also told that rats have killed more human than all the general in history put together. And that thousands of our children are bitten each year---some killed or dish gured.
Does that make social sense? Especially when we're already spending Federal money to protect livestock and gains from rats?
Maybe those men have never lived in broken-down tenements where you could hear the rats screening inside the walls at night.
Maybe they've never seen a rat dash across their kitchen floor and into some hide under the sink when a light was snapped on.
Maybe. But then a lot of us have been that lucky. Does that excuse our ignoring those who haven't?
There are 90 million rats in this country. Where do you think they go where when their slum homes are torn down?
They go into our finest hotels and restaurants, into modern apartment buildings, cellars, garages. They go everywhere and anywhere.
And they breed more rats.
That's, why when our congressmen vote against getting and of rats, they're voting against all of us. Not just the poor people. But all of us.
Fortunately, there’s still hope.
The vote was 207 to 176. That means if we can get just 16 men to change their votes when the bill comes up again, the tally will 192 to 191--- enough to pass it.
Below is a list of congressmen and how they voted.
If yours voted for the bill, write him and let him know you support him and anything he can do to change the minds of those who voted against it.
If yours voted against the bill write and let him know you want him to change his vote.
Write to: Honorable ____________________________
House of Representatives, Washington. D.C.
It's time: we stopped giving rats equal rights with people.