Keith Reinhard is chairman emeritus of DDB. As you might imagine, he’s done some amazing work over his 65-year career, and he has stories to tell. Reinhard’s appearance on Ad Age’s “Ad Lib” podcast provides him a stage to share.
I like how he talks about his original desire to get into advertising and how long it took him to achieve his goal—nearly 10 years. He says he was an art director by trade, but was first hired as a copywriter and immediately asked to write humorous radio spots for State Farm Insurance.
He asked his Copy Supervisor (a dour guy) to give him some tips on writing humor. “He looked over his glasses and said you go back to your typewriter and type until you laugh. When you laugh, bring me what made you laugh. If I laugh, it’s funny. If I don’t laugh, go back and type some more. And I couldn’t make him laugh.”
The Man Who Shaped the Hamburglar
Reinhard later worked closely with Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s. He describes Kroc as a piano player and entertainer who valued the power of storytelling. Kroc was also obsessed with cleanliness, and Reinhard thought was a pretty tame topic for a commercial, however with some “song and dance,” it could work. And the rest is advertising history…
The Big Bang and Beyond
Reinhard, an Indiana boy made good, discusses how his agency at the time—Needham Harper Worldwide—got together with BBDO and DDB in 1986 to make Omnicom.
He wanted to call the new holding company, “Ardvark.”
“There will always be interest in in-house, there will always be interest in bespoke, there will always be interest in putting disciplines together and Accenture buying Droga and so forth,” says Reinhard.
“But, there will also always be DDB…I think there’s room for all of these different ways and we’ll see who makes the most effective and distinguished work. That should be the metric. Which of these structures, which of these combinations, provides a culture that attracts the top talent, inspires the top talent, and produces the most effective work?”
Reinhard is not betting on the consulting model. “They (Accenture) have been buying agencies for some time now,” he says. “I can’t name a campaign or a work product that I say, ‘Wow, I wish I had done that.'”