How To Be A Buff Swinging Multimillionaire

Fortune takes a hard look at The Donny’s book, the agency he built and the man himself.

The book, which Deutsch co-wrote with author Peter Knobler, is more about Donny Inc. than Deutsch Inc., his advertising agency. It’s a primer on how to become a buff, swinging multimillionaire … like Donny Deutsch!”
“There’s just this big disconnect between brand Donny and Deutsch Inc.,” says Rob Schwartz, executive creative director of TBWA/Chiat/Day in Los Angeles. “Here’s this guy who has positioned himself as the voice of the ad business. Clients see him on TV and say, ‘I like this guy.’ But when they go to his agency, they meet these other people who say, ‘No, we’re the brains behind everything now.’ The client goes, ‘Huh?’ ”
Deutsch Inc. has never been known for doing industry-transforming work like TBWA/Chiat/Day’s Apple ads or Wieden + Kennedy’s campaigns for Nike. What set Deutsch Inc. apart was Donny. He doesn’t write about this in his book, but early in his career, when he was frustrated with his lack of press coverage, he went to New York public relations guru Howard Rubenstein for help. Rubenstein told Deutsch that veteran Madison Avenue provocateur Jerry Della Femina was leaving the stage, and there was an opening for another loud, irreverent adman. Deutsch filled the void (he says he doesn’t remember any such conversation, though Rubenstein does).

Thanks to Adfreak for the pointer.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    Oy vey. This guy is more overexposed than Lindsay Lohan’s cleavage. That’s the problem with this business: In order to succeed, you either have to deal with a**holes like Donny – or become one.

  2. Or one has to be in the right place at the right time, which is mostly pure luck. However, luck comes more often to those who make extraordinary efforts.

  3. Carl LaFong says:

    Well said, David.

  4. Steven Jerman says:

    Plus he’s second generation in the business. That can never be underestimated