Interviewed in April 1970
Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc. Senior Vice-President, Associate Creative Head
chuukyuu Among your work so far done, please name two ads that you like best.
Mr.Reider The "For What" ad and the Utica Club "Our beer is 50 years.
behind the times" ad. But let me say it's very difficult to choose two ads.
If you said ten it would be easier, but it's very hard to pick just two because
others are very close.
chuukyuu Then what will you choose as your next best?
Mr.Reider "Dr. Spock is worried." I did this ad with Mr. Bernbach and Len Sirowitz. By the way, are you familiar with my political ads?
Mr.Reider I'm especially proud of my political ads because many of these ads were done for little people who had nobody to speak for them. It is.
very hard in America to reach millions of people if you have no money.
But many times the best causes are made by people or by organizations.
that have no money. I'm sure the same thing can be seen in your country.
chuukyuu That is true.
Mr.Reider The best issues are frequently made by people who have no, big organization or no agency and have very little money to spend.
Practically all of these political ads brought in more money than they cost.
Aside from helping to organize people against the war in Vietnam and against the nuclear arms race.
So if you said to me, what am I proudest of, I would say the political ads.
I was doing them at a time when practically nobody else was doing them and I think they have left some small mark behind.
But in the product category, the campaign that I'm most proud of is the Utica Club beer campaign which Bill Taubin and I did for the first three years; later on, Bob Gage and I, and then Sid Myers and Ｉ．
Ernie Hartman was the producer.
It was a turning point in my career.
Are you familiar with Schultz and Dooley?
chuukyuu No, Sorry.
Mr.Reider Schultz and Dooley were the talking beer mug commercials that I did with Bill Taubin.
Have you ever seen them?
chuukyuu No, I haven't.
Mr.Reider They were very successful. All together, we did about 75 Schultz and Dooley commercials in five years.
Some of my other work in Television are the Tiger Paw campaign and The Rain Tire campaign for Uniroyal, with Les Feldman. Also,
"The Spoiler" for Gillette with Bill Taubin.
I also did the McCarthy-for-President Campaign with Len Sirowitz.
Here is a very famous ad which Bill Taubin and Mr. Bernbach and I did.
"I sometimes wonder if it pays to make beer this way."
chuukyuu I heard that this headline was made by Mr. Bernbach.
Mr.Reider It's not that simple.
We did the ad together.
I never talk about what I did or what somebody else did within one ad.
There were three people who did it. Mr. Bernbach, Mr. Taubin and 1.
I won't go into the details of who did what but it was together.
You see it's my policy not to say,
"This is my headline or my idea" because when you consider your work as a whole, sometimes it's your idea and sometimes it's the art director's and sometimes it's Mr. Bernbach's.
You have to work with people harmoniously, and my philosophy has always been that when I sit down to work with somebody, it's fifty-fifty.
So I will not say to you this was my idea or this was his idea.
We did it together.
chuukyuu Is this a rather old ad? ~
Mr.Reider Yes, it was made in 1962.
chuukyuu Mr. Taubin was art director for this?
chuukyuu Did you make that Utica Club ad with Mr. Robert Gage? ("Our beer is 50 years behind the times, and we're proud of it.")
Mr.Reider Let me give you the background.
The original headline was, done by me and Bill Taubin on a different ad that came earlier, showing an old Utica Club beer tray that was about 60 or 70 years old. Bill show, ed a picture of a glass of beer on the antique tray and we did that
At that time, Bill Taubin was very busy with other accounts; he had been working on Utica Club for three years and he couldn't work )n that account any more.
So Bob Gage became the art director.
Gage and I then took that headline which I'd done with Bill Tatibin originally and Bob and I developed this new campaign with these old-fashioned pictures which Howard Zieff did.
It became a very famous campa}gn.
chuukyuu Is this an ad for Senator McCarthy or is it an ad against the war? ("For What ?")
Mr.Reider Let me tell you the story of this ad.
Many of these ads have interesting stories connected with them. Len Sirowitz and I did that ad.
The concept we originally did for Sane.
But the ad wasn't used because it was too strong.
The Sane people were not prepared to go so far at that time.
They were about to run it but somebody on their board of directors said it was too hard hitting, too strong.
The opposition to the war in Vietnam rose very slowly and this was a year earlier and they were not ready to run an ad that was so strong against the war.
So the ad did not run at that time.
About a year later, I was asked to attend a meeting on behalf of the McCarthy campaign which was just beginning at that time.
Walking back from this meeting, I mentioned to somebody that Len and I had this ad that I that I thought was very good and that it should run, and that the time was right.
And he said to me that he would like to see it.
So I showed him the layout and he got very excited about it, and several people got together and raised the money to run the ad, which at that time in New York Times was about 5000 dollars. (Now it's more like 7,000 dollars.) So the ad ran in the New York Times on behalf of the New York State McCarthy Committee, and it created a sensation.
It ran twice in quick succession and each time it brought in over 25,000 dollars in cash.
It was picked up and run all over the country by other McCarthy Committees that were just starting at that time.
Because of this ad, Len and I began to do more of the McCarthy ads for New York State in the New York Times.
Later on, the National McCarthy Committee asked us to do ads for them, saying, "You are doing the best ads". Have you read this copy?
chuukyuu Yes, I have. A few years ago Mr. Sirowitz sent me a lot of his works answeing to my request.
They were sent because I asked him if I could write the issue on him and his work in some advertising and art magazine called Idea. Within his works I found that Senator McCarthy ads were included and most of them I introduced with translation.
Mr.Reider I'm proud that even though the political ads were done many years ago, you can look at any of them and they are still true today.
This copy on the Vietnam uar was written in 1967 or '68 and every word is still true.
chuukyuu I've heard that you were working for this McCarthy campaIgn"off duty." Is it true?
Mr.Reider Yes, only the first (Dr. Spock) ad was done for the agency officially.
After that all the political ads were done off duty, strictly as volunteers.
The agency and Mr. Bernbach have been very nice about it and they've never objected.
Mr. Bernbach feels that we have a right as individuals and as citizens to do this kind of work as long as we do it on our own time.
I don't know if you are familiar with this story: Len Sirowitz and I were doing the McCarthy ads and later on the agency became the official agency for Senator Humphrey, (who was in competition with Senator McCarthy for the Democratic Party nomination).
So we had this strange situation where the agency was doing ads for Humphrey, and Len and I were doing ads for McCarthy.
I know that Washington was not very happy about this but Mr. Bernbach would never tell us to stop.
As a matter of fact when he got the Humphrey account, he made it very clear that he would not tell us to stop doing McCarthy ads.
chuukyuu Do you think you could have done those ads you mentioned if you had not worked at Doyle Dhoe Bernbach?
Reider No, never.
But if you asked me now could I leave this agency and do it, that's something else.
The agency has had an enormous influence on all of us here, of course including myself.
The agency has a unique environment and I'm sure you have heard this from many people.
It's like this: When you are growing up, you need sunshine and you need good soil and it shouldn't be too cold or too hot-especially for young plants.
The agency has provided this and still continues to provide it.
I think as one grows up, he becomes more independent perhaps, but there is no
question that I never could have developed the way I had without Doyle Dane Bernbach and Mr. Bernbach personally, who is a remarkable man.
chuukyuu You spoke about the environment of Doyle Dane Bernbach, but\ hasn't it changed since you joined?
Mr.Reider It was 16 years ago when I came here.
The agency at that time was billing I believe eight million dollars a year and there were four copywriters. Phyllis Robinson was the copy chief.
The writers were Lore Parker, Judy Protas, Eli Kramer and myself.
I was the fourth.
It was more intimate and personal then.
Of course the agency has changed as it has grown, but the remarkable thing is how much it has retained of its character.
This is the unique quality of Doyle Dane Bernbach---that it could grow to its present size and still be as much like it was then asit is.
Also many disciples have grown up in the agency, and we in turn have contributed. You may have wondered why Doyle Dane Bernbach could have grown this way without losing its character, in contrast with other good agencies that could not do it. Well, there is an old slogan of Mao tse-tung's that goes: "Let 100 different kinds of flowers grow in our garden".
Mao subsequently discarded that idea during the "Cultural Revolution", but Mr. Bernbach really applied it at ＤＤＢ, and what you have is a number of very distinct individual personalities who have been allowed to grow in their own way and with their own personality and who have never become imitations of Bill Bernbach.
I think this was one of the greatest contributions that Mr. Bernbach made-the fact that he allowed people to grow in their own way rather than forcing them into a mold.
This is something you must remember in understanding why Doyle Dane Bernbach has grown so successfully.
Many times when you have a great leader, he insists that things be done his way and the people look at things from his point of view and it never succeeds.
You only get mediocrity that way.
chuukyuu You said you joined this agency 16 years ago.
What were you doing before then? And are there any reason why you joined Doyle
Mr.Reider 16 years ago, I was a copy chief of a small advertising agency.
I had been there for five years. I was 35 years old then and I had the feeling that I wasn't getting any place; they were standing still and I was standing still too.
I was doing very good work but I had the feeling that I couldn't stay there forever because I wanted to improve myself.
So I went to an employment agency called Walter Lowen, which at that time was the best advertising employment agency.
I had a very good resume and left some with him and -three months later he called me up and he said Doyle Dane Bernbach had seen my resume and they would like to talk to me.
That was Phyllis Robinson.
So I brought in my sample book and I had a very good interview with Phyllis and she asked me to leave my book and a week later I got a call to pick up my book.
I didn't hear anything for six months!
Six months later I had a letter from Mrs. Robinson telling me that they had decided that I was the one that they wanted to have.
The interviews took six months for one job!
chuukyuu Now let's change our subject. where and when were you born?'
Mr.Reider I was born in New York City.
chuukyuu Raised here?
Mr.Reider Yes, "born and bred m the briar patch". You know. what that means?
Mr.Reider You see, much o( my wntmg ..... I think any good writer is involved with local expressions like slang and folk tales.
"Born and bred in the briar patch" is one of them. (It's very difficult for one language to communicate certain colorful expressions to another.)
Born and bred in the briar patch means thorny, like-you know-on the sidewalks of New York. The hard life. I'm sure you have similar expressions in your language.
chuukyuu Wat type of boy were you?
Mr.Reider I was very poor.
chuukyuu How about the personality?
Mr.Reider I was very quiet and shy?
chuukyuu What book did you like best at that time?
chuukyuu When and why did you decide to become a copywriter?
Mr.Reider When it came time for me go to high school, it was 1932-during the Great Depression. How old are you, Mr. Nishio?
chuukyuu I'm 39.
Mr.Reider I'm 51.
When it came time for me to pick a high school, we were vere poor.
My father couldn't get work and my brothers and sisters were trying to find a job. I knew that when I got out of high school, I had to get a job because my family couldn't afford to send me to college and I felt the obligation to get a job.
So I went to a school called the High School of Commerce in New York to study shorthand reporting, court stenography, you konw what court stenography is?
In a trial, you write down the testimony.
I did study this and I was very good at it but when I went to high school I became interested in writing for the school newspaper and I became editor of the school newspaper and I got practice wirting stories very quickly because sometimes we had to go to press the next day.
It was good discipline and training.
When I got out of high school, I was a very good stenographer, writing 150 words a minute, and I was also a pretty good writer.
It was very hard to get a job because it was during the great depression.
It was 1936 and times were still very bad.
But I got a job in a small advertising agency through an ad in the New York Times. I got 12 dollars a week as a beginning copywriter.
That's how I got my start in 1936 and I've been a copywriter all my life. Nothing else but copy wntmg And I've never wanted to do anything else.
Even today at least half of my work is actually writing copy.
I feel that my greatest pleasure and satisfaction is writing ads or writing television commercials and I never wanted to become a man who just supervises.
And this is what I've been doing since 1936 except three and a half years in the army.
chuukyuu I've heard that you are not interested in any kinds of advertising competitions. Is that correct?
Mr.Reider Yes, that is correct. I have not entered any competitions since 1962.
chuukyuu Does Mr. Bernbach say anything about this, or suggest you to enter any competition?
Mr.Reider No, never. Mr. Bernbach respects other people's rights.
chuukyuu What advice or remarks by Mr. Bernbach impressed you most?
Mr.Reider Mr. Bernbach once told me that for many years he carried around a little piece of paper in his shirt pocket, and on it was written three words that he would keep in mind whenever he would have a discussion with someone. The three words were: Maybe he's right.
I also remember an anecdote in connection with the Dr. Spock ad.
When we did that ad, the agency did the concept and the headline but we suggested
to Dr. Spock that he should write the copy because he had already written a famous book and we felt he should write the copy himself.
At that time Dr. Spock was a professor of child psychology at Western Reserve
University and he spent almost a week in writing the copy for that ad.
He sent it to me and I felt that it was not right because it said nothing about children.
Of course, Dr. Spock was most vivid in people's minds especially in connection with children.
So I called him up on the telephone in Cleveland Ohio, and I told him that the copy was very good but why didn't he say something about the effect of nuclear testing on children in the copy?
The ad had to do with nuclear testing, which of course is very bad for children. The copy he had written was mostly about the U. S. and USSR and about the need for a nuclear test ban.
He said no because he would rather not discuss the effect of nuclear testing on children and I said why not?
He said that he was going to be in New York for a broadcast and he would be glad to stop by and explain it to me a few days later.
When he came in, we gathered around that famous round table in Mr. Bernbach's office: Dr. Spock, Mr. Bernbach, and I was privileged to be there too.
Mr.Bernbach asked Dr.Spock,"Why won't you talk about the effects of nuclear testing on children? Don't you think it is true that this does harm to children and especially to children who are not yet bor~?". And Dr. Spock said, "Yes, I think it is true but the reason why I do not wish to discuss it in an ad is because I've been a pediatrician for many years and I know how frightened a woman can get when she's pregnant. She can very easily become terribly frightened and think that maybe her child will be born without arms or without legs or with brain damage and I do not wish to frighten pregnant women by talking about this."
He felt that the ad might do more harm than good in this way.
And then there took place this brilliant discussion beteween these two giants, Dr. Spock and Mr. Bernbach" to see if there wasn't some way how this could be said.
And finally Dr. Spock said, "Well, if you give me a desk and some paper, I'd like to sit down and maybe I can figure out how to say what we all want to say without frightening pregnant women."
So I gave him my office and he then wrote this paragraph.
He said: "I am worried. Not so much about the effects of past tests but the prospect of future ones.
As the tests multiply, damage to children here and around the world will surely be increased."
He didn't want to frighten pregnant women, but with this. paragraph he could communicate what Mr. Bernbach anb I thought should be communicated. I think that ad was Dr. Spock's first involvement in politics.
chuukyuu This is the final question. What do you think about the future of creative boutiques in this country?
Mr.Reider Well, I don't like the word boutique.
First let me say the question makes me very uncomfortable because the question would imply that "boutique" is the same as "young agency" of "new agency" which I
don't accept as valid.
If you ask me, "Is there a future for small agencies?"
then I would say, "Of course". There will always be small agencies.
Some will succeed and some will fail, depending upon the quality of the people involved. Some will go on to become great establishments.
That is how I would answer that question.
I do not think "boutique" should be used because times are changing so quickly that even the word boutique is already passe in our field, as privileged to be there too.