Young & Rubicam, Inc. Vice-President, Associate Creative Director(1970)
Mr.Elgort The campaign for Mayor Lindsay is quite another story. A poll taken in March of 1969 showed that something like 78% of all New Yorkers would vote for anybody whose name wasn't Lindsay.
In June of 1969, John Lindsay lost his own party's Primary to John Marchi, who later said that people in New York disliked Lindsay so much, they'd vote for the Boston Strangler rather than suffer another 4 years under Lindsay.
In a way, he was right. Because a surprising number of New Yorkers, particularly those middle class Jewish voters who had helped elect Lindsay in 1965, felt that he was arrogant, that he did not understand their problems and that he had done nothing of value in four years.
Our job was to convince enough of them that this was not the case. But, don't get the idea from all of this that we "sold" Mayor Lindsay.
I will never write a book entitled, "The Selling of The Mayor." It would be an insult to Mayor Lindsay and to the people who voted for him.
And it simply wouldn't be true.
I'm not just being modest.
But a number of things that had nothing to do with advertising helped elect Mayor Lindsay in 1969.
Mario Procaccino helped elect Mayor Lindsay. Every time Mario opened his mouth, or lost his temper, he reminded people that he wasn't big enough for the job.
The split in the Democratic Party also helped.
And the fact that many prominent Democrats and Republicans deserted their political parties to support him.
Even the New York Mets helped elect Mayor Lindsay.
When they won the World Series, New Yorkers were high for days.
And a little of that good feeling rubbed off on the Mayor.
But nobody helped Lindsay more than Lindsay himself.
He did well in the televised debates, he succeeded in making the war in Vietnam a local issue and he used the power of his office to get fast action for voters who had problems.
He even influenced the direction of the advertising.
The idea for the Mistakes commercial came out of a statement Lindsay had made in March of 1969 when he announced his decision to run again.
And the line, "the second toughest job in America" was inspired by something Lindsay had been saying for years, but in a slightly different way.
He had been calling it the "second most important job in America.
While we're on the subject of the line, there are a number of things it helped do. Aside for helping to create a little sympathy for the Mayor and the job he had to do, it explained some of the mistakes of his first four years in office.
And it also reminded a number of voters of something they sensed was true.
That the job of running New York City was a little too big for either of Mayor Lindsay's opponents.
chuukyuu How did you work with the Art Director at that time?
Mr. Elgort First we went after the facts. We tried to dig out as much information as possible. Then we defined the problem that we felt advertising could solve. And out of that came our advertising objectives.
Once we established some objectives and wrote out a rough strategy, we locked ourselves in a room and started tossing around ideas.
In both campaigns, my Art Director was Marv Lefkowitz. Sometimes it was just the two of us. And sometimes Tony Isidore, who's also a writer, sat in with us.
We'd spend most of our time rejecting ideas, trying to get the superficial or "easy" solutions out of our systems. And even if we hit on something we liked, we kept exploring other executions.
Just to be sure what we had was the best possible solution.