Young & Rubicam, Inc. Vice-President, Associate Creative Director(1970)
chuukyuu Is there any knack to making a quick judgment on a copywriter's talent?
Mr.Elgort If there is, I haven't found it.
There are times when you can spot talent quickly.
Like when a writer has done an ad or commercial that you wish you had written. Or if he's solved a particularly toug packaged goods problem in a very fresh way.
But I try to avoid making quick judgments.
It's too easy to be wrong.
chuukyuu What kind of talent is required in order to be a good copywriter?
Mr.Elgort Let's say he has the obvious talent.
That he can write in a believable, convincing, colorful way.
One of the othe things I look for is a writer who can think.
By that I mean a writer who can take a tough problem and figure out exactly what advertising can do to solve it.
You'd be surprised how many writers think that advertising is simply a matter of finding a "far out" execution.
But the most brilliant execution in the world won't sell a product if it's selling the wrong thing.
Or if it's selling the wrong audience.
Or if it's written to a strategy that just doesn't make any sense.
Another thing I look for is the talent for coming up with an audaciousidea. Something that not only solves the problem, but does it in the most original way possible.
A sound strategy is only a platform.
You still need that indefinable talent that can make the difference between a good campaign and a great one.
There's one more thing I look for in a writer.
And that's the ability to be tough on himself and his work.
Most of the people that I respect in this business don't settle for the first solution that comes along.
One of the secrets of doing good advertising-aside from sheer talent-is just plain hard work.
chuukyuu Is Young & Rubicam a comfortable place for a copywriter?
Mr.Elgort It's the best place I've ever worked. And that's got to be because people like Tony Isidore and Steve Frankfurt respect good writing.
There's still a lot of room for improvement. But as long as we can do things like the Give a Damn campaign, it's got to be a very comfortable place for a writer.
chuukyuu Is there any copywriter you admire? "
Mr.Elgort I admire a number of writers from a distance. But I've been privileged to work with two people who are more than good writers.
As a matter of fact, I consider them to be two of the most talented people in the business.
They're Tony Isidore and Stan Dragoti.
chuukyuu What advice or remark by Mr. Frankfurt impressed you most?
Mr.Elgort I can't think of a specific remark. But there's one thing that always impressed me about Steve Frankfurt. He's an innovator. So he isn't satisfied with just a good campaign.
He wants a break-through.
And that's the kind of prodding that sometimes drives you crazy. But sometimes forces you to do something great.
It's also encouraging for creative people to have an agency President who came out of the creative department.
Because it means there's somebody up there who speaks your language.
A lot of contact people are terrific at their jobs, but they really don't have the same feeling about ads and commercials taht we do. They don't get a kick out of them.
And one of the nice things about working for Steve Frankfurt is that he does.
chuukyuu How do you observe the creative boutique?
Mr.Elgort I've never liked the idea of call them "creative boutiques," but I admire the ones that do good work.
I'm also a little jealous of them.
I've always wanted to have that kind of freedom.
About the closest I've come so far, are the times I worked on Mayor Lindsay and the Give a Damn campaigns.