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.