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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:480
  • eBook ISBN:9781483548494


My Life as an Ad Man

by Ron Elgin

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Huckster: My Life as an Ad Man is a humorous account of Ron Elgin's forty-year career in the intensely challenging, extraordinarily competitive, and sometimes insanely whacky advertising agency business. Rather than write a "How to" book about advertising, Ron decided to share the hilarious tale of how he co-founded one of the most successful advertising agencies in the Pacific Northwest -- ElginSyferd -- and perhaps in the process teach readers a thing about advertising, business and life. Whether it's reading about employees who start bleeding profusely during presentations, trips to the U.S.S.R. that almost ended with Ron being sent to a gulag, a prospective client who decides to breastfeed her infant during the agency's presentation, an employee Christmas party gone wrong, too many martinis at a business lunch, or making some of the most incredible deals in advertising history, your view of the advertising world will never be the same. Join Ron as he shares his delightfully entertaining story of going from barely graduating from high school, gas pump jockey, railroad mud hopper, college grad, Army officer during the Viet Nam war to co-founder of an agency that grew to a quarter billion dollars in billings with clients such as Energy Star (DOE), Holland America Line, McDonald's, Jansport, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Nordstrom. Ron's philosophy of hiring people better than himself and his strong belief that the harder your work the luckier you get put his agency in the national limelight. His four decades of business successes, failures , and experiences will instruct, educate, inform, and keep you laughing for hours.
For years, friends and associates said that they enjoyed hearing stories about my experiences in and around the advertising business and suggested I write a book. I resisted, thinking that if anyone wanted to read about the ad biz, they'd rather read the thoughts and ruminations of someone from one of the a meccas like New York. But then I was reminded that while Seattle may not be the biggest market, it's definitely one of the coolest and most progressive. As Frank Sinatra would have said, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." My agency had the most successful thirty-year run of any agency in the history of this ultra-cool city. No agency in modern times had climbed to the top faster or stayed there longer. Perhaps success in Seattle did give me at least a modicum of credibility. Bolstered by that fact, I kicked around the idea of writing a "How to" book to help others succeed in this fascinating business irrespective of where they chose to ply the profession. That is, I kicked around the idea for a few days until I remembered why I had never been a huge fans of those books. Although my experience was limited, those I had read were too much like work. So being a creative guy, I decided to write a textbook that was both helpful and fun to read. After pounding out an outline, I sent it to a friend who is very smart, a great writer and someone not afraid to tell me when I'm being stupid. "Ron, you're being stupid," he said. "A textbook on advertising written by you would never get off the shelves. Write a true-life 'womb to tomb' story about your incredible career in advertising. The very idea that Ron Elgin could become a success at anything is not just funny, it's fucking hilarious!" So you won't find chapters promising to teach you the secrets of becoming a great presenter, or showing you the formula for guaranteed financial success, or giving you tips on client retention, or even a diagram showing how to button your fly. Instead, I share stories. True stories -- well, at least how I remember them. Anyway, my hope is that perhaps through this collection of bizarre but true stories, you can learn from my mistakes, benefit from when we did get it right, and most of all, just have fun reading about an incredible magic carpet ride.
About the author
For four decades, Ron Elgin was involved in the serious but whacky world of advertising. Starting as an award-winning copywriter, he went on to co-found ElginSyferd in 1981 and helped it grow to a quarter billion dollars in billings before selling to DDB Worldwide in 1994. During his career, he also co-founded a half dozen other successful marketing organizations. In 2012, he was honored by the American Advertising Federation's highest honor, the Silver Medal Award. Ron has sat on countless for-profit and non-profit boards and has made giving back a key part of his successful life.