Fred S. Goldberg has a hard time picking a story when he’s asked to tell the craziest yarn from his three decades in advertising. “I’ve got so many stories!” he proclaims. And it’s true. He has seen, heard and done things that make “Mad Men” seem like a trip to Disney World.
For instance, it was Goldberg’s job to convince John Wayne to hold a product in his hands while shooting a commercial. He asked him nicely. The very tall Duke looked down at Goldberg and responded, “OK, why don’t you get the package and bring it over here and then bend over and I’ll shove that it so far up your a— you won’t even feel it!” Needless to say, John Wayne never held the product in the spot.
The commercial did well among the test audience, but they didn’t remember the product. They only remembered John Wayne being in the commercial.
Goldberg has plenty of stories like these from his years as a mad man. He doesn’t mince words in his new book “The Insanity of Advertising: Memoirs of a Mad Man,” which is filled with ribald tales.
When asked what he thinks about the TV show “Mad Men,” back for its final season this week, and the show’s depiction of the advertising world, he doesn’t have a hard time choosing his words. “They get the drinking and the smoking right, and they get the sex right. But it’s more of a soap opera,” Goldberg says.
He thinks the show doesn’t uncover the nitty gritty of the creative process: “[It] has nothing to do with how hard it is to actually create innovative ideas and ads,” he charges.