The Last Retainer

Pat D’Amico, business development partner at Psynchronous Communications and former SVP/Group Director at Arnold Worldwide, calls his own fiction “a bitterly funny account of the rat-eat-rat world of advertising” in our comments.
So let’s look at the man’s prose, offered semi-anonymously on a Blogspot site:

Tracy DelAngelis was in the late stages of making a name for herself at Shaughnessy + Greene, which at seventy-five was Boston’s oldest ad agency, originally started in the late twenties in Southie by the Irish mafia as a money laundering operation. As it turned out, the agency’s legitimate revenue generating activities rapidly outpaced its criminal alter ego and eventually an upstanding business was born. A twenty-nine year old Account Supervisor on the verge of being kicked up to Management Supervisor, Tracy was recruited — more like lured — by Jack out of Weiden & Kennedy, Nike’s famous Portland, Oregon-based ad agency, because of the obvious cache she would bring to S+G having worked the entirety of her young career surrounded by the likes of Mike, Andre, Dennis and countless other white-hot sports celebs.
It impressed Jack that, as a lowly Account Supervisor, she enclosed a reel of TV spots — her reel of spots — along with her resume during the interview process. Art directors have reels. Writers and producers have reels. But an account person with a reel was akin to an art director with a balance sheet. What blew Jack away further were the creatives themselves, the very ones listed as references on her resume, the ones who actually made those spots, who stood behind Tracy’s claim of contributing to the work when Jack anonamously called to inquire. At Weiden, Tracy DelAngelo was well known as one of the good account people. One of few who knew precisely how and when to throw herself on the proverbial sword in defense of the work. And when ardent sandbagging failed, how to bend the work without breaking it. She had a natural talent for wearing down clients with beautifully articulated and believable treaties on why the spot could not possibly work without the Iggy Pop tune or why showing actual shoes in the ad would ruin the viewers’ fantasy of the product and ultimately suppress retail sales. Slick beyond her years, Tracy was worth every one of her 115 pounds in platinum in a a “creative-driven” shop like W&K.

“Jack” is Jack Landers, Tracy’s boss at fictional Boston agency, Shaughnessy + Greene.
I wonder where this story goes.

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. daveednyc says:

    zzzz… I fell asleep right after “revenue generating”.