Recalling half a century in the ad biz

No, not my memories.

Memories and stories by Michael Koulermos, former McCann SVP & master of portraiture.

Yesterday I visited the ADC Global Gallery in NYC to see Mr. Koulermos’ exhibition of Impressionist portraits of ’60s, ’70s & ’80s ad men & women.

I stayed for over an hour and left sooo inspired.

Unfortunately the exhibition ends tomorrow.

Then the portraits will be taken down, wrapped carefully & given to each ad legend or family member.

Got fingers crossed these oils (& the engaging stories that accompanied each one) will one day reappear as an online exhibit.

In the meantime, I have just one thing more to say:

Thank you, Mr. Koulermos, for sharing your labor of love.


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50 great pumpkin carving ideas you won’t find on Pinterest

Because they’re from the 2014 Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival ツ


The Highwood Pumpkin Festival attracts people from across America. This year, proceeds go to Autism Society of Illinois.

YSK these photos probably represent about one-tenth of one percent of all the carved pumpkins you can see at the Pumpkin Fest in Highwood, IL. So if you’re in the area, try to stop by. Today is the last day. And tonight is the Grand Lighting Ceremony! It begins at 5:30 PM.

(Sorry some of these pictures are out of focus. I took them with my not-so-smart-smartphone.)

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“LETTERS LOST THEN FOUND: A Conversation Between Two Brothers, 1942−1945.”


This new book is not online or in any bookshop.

As far as I know, only a couple dozen copies of this book exist. Pity. For two reasons.

First, the war time letters in it were written by brothers who loved each other very much. So I think anyone who likes a good love story will enjoy this bromance.

Second, more than any Hollywood film or TV show I’ve ever seen about WW II, Letters Lost Then Found provides the most realistic picture of what life was like back then and gives new meaning to the phrase, “supporting our troops.”

I first became aware of the book while helping judge the West Michigan ADDY Awards earlier this year. We gave it “Student Best of Show.” Yep. This was put together by a student.

Author Amy L. Johnson

To read the surprising backstory of how this book came to be, visit

Amy L. Johnson used her considerable graphic design talent to bring this trove of heartfelt letters written and sent more than half a century ago back to life. Then printed a small run for family and friends.

Got fingers crossed Ms. Johnson will one day connect with a forward-thinking book executive who’ll publish it and make it available to everyone.

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Last night I saw a HOTT show

Oklahoma by HOTT Productions
HOTT (Helping Others Through Theatre) PRODUCTIONS was founded almost two decades ago by Schaumburg residents Christine Seminaro and Donica Seminaro Luzwick, her sister. The non-profit’s dual mission is ambitious: (1) Provide quality musical theater experiences and (2) donate all proceeds to charity. By virtually any measure it’s been a smashing success and the founders show no sign of slowing down.

With the help of Donica’s husband, David Luzwick (who joined in 1998), and hundreds of others, HOTT Productions has entertained musical theatregoers of all ages with more than 30 classics—everything from “Grease” and “Guys and Dolls” to “Hair” and “Hello Dolly.” Its current production is “Oklahoma!” by Rodgers & Hammerstein.

All proceeds raised by this all-volunteer group have been donated to worthy causes. Recipients include local families in need plus organizations dedicated to autism programming, helping those with multiple sclerosis, cancer prevention and children’s literacy. Tally of their donations so far? In a word, “BOFFO.” Nearly $125,000!

Tickets for tonight’s closing performance are still available. (I went last night and left the Prairie Center for the Arts humming and smiling all the way home.) Show starts at 8 PM. To make a reservation, call 847.895-2828.

Editor’s note: If you believe in what Christine, Donica and David are doing, perhaps you’ll consider donating your time and talents to help with their next production, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” If your calendar’s already full, please consider becoming an Angel to the Arts with a financial donation of $25 or more. You can reach HOTT Productions at 847.650.4688.

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Chuck Peebler & David Bell

When it comes to pitching new business, our agency has a pretty good track record. Reason why? Probably because I’ve had the good fortune to be hired and mentored by some of the best Creative, Account, Research, Media and PR people in the world, including these two Advertising Hall of Famers: Chuck Peebler, (Chairman-CEO of BJKE) and David Bell, (Bozell Worldwide Chairman-CEO). This decades-old video is part of their response to an RFP from agency search consultants Leslie Winthrop and Lisa Colantuono.

BTW, last Sunday was the 78th anniversary of Chuck’s birth. To learn more about his contributions to the world, click here.

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It’s Law Day again in America

So what is Law Day?!

In 1961, a Joint Resolution of Congress set aside May 1 as a special day for all Americans to celebrate our liberties and to reaffirm our loyalty to the USA.

It’s a day for us to consider our duties and responsibilities such as (1) keep informed about government and community affairs, (2) vote in elections, (3) respect others’ rights, (4) obey and respect the law and (5) serve on juries and as court witnesses if called.

At &VERTISING INC, we think it’s also a good day to read the Illinois State Bar Association’s Legal Health Checkup, a 12-page educational guide created by us.

(BTW, if you’re going to hand out free copies on Michigan Avenue, a good place to start is on the plaza outside NBC 5 Chicago’s news studio. Yes, they turned the camera on us!!

David Wojdyla shares last-minute advice with his street marketing team.

David Wojdyla shares last-minute advice with his street marketing team.

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Art school question

School of Visual Arts or Kendall College of Art and Design?

No one’s asked me this question. But if they did, here’s what I’d say:

Last Wednesday was Career Day for graphic design seniors at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

In the morning they received real world advice from professionals. In the afternoon they received feedback on their portfolios.

I was one of the guys giving feedback. (Mostly “WHOA,” “WOW,” and “If we had an opening I’d hire you in a heartbeat!”)

A year ago I did the same thing at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Overall, I liked the students in Michigan better.

( Just one ad man’s opinion.)

Bravo, KCAD Graphic Design Faculty!

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