Last year I spoke with Lee regarding these ads. "36 Hours ‘til Monday" ran in a 1986 issue of M The Civilized Man and I wanted to know who the ad agency was. They got back to me after a couple weeks and told me they knew nothing about the ad, photographer, models, zip. This happens a lot more than you’d expect. When it comes to ads, retailers are notorious for lousy record keeping much less having an actual archives — I’m guessing Lee wouldn’t have any trouble finding out what EBITA was in 1986.
The ads were done by the little known Tom McElligott of Fallon McElligott Rice and there’s loads more about Tom here in a wonderful piece by Dave Dye of Stuff from the Loft. The Lee ads ran in a two page spread so the impact was impressive and, after almost 30 years, unforgettable.
McElligott gave up the ad business at age 50. But a college kid scored an interview with Tom who gives the very wise advice below. How I wish someone told me this 22 years ago:
“Don’t be distracted by anything. The work is what counts. There are a lot of things that can get in your way, that take up your time and your emotional and intellectual energy; none of them account for anything. They mean nothing. The only thing, in the final analysis, at this stage of the game, that really counts, is the work. The work is everything. The years that I spent in advertising I saw an awful lot of people who had the potential to be good lose a lot of their ability to distraction, to politics, to fear and to who has the bigger office. You’ll get the bigger office; you’ll make the money. Anything you want will happen, but sometimes it’s hard for people to see that when they’re in the middle of it. It looks like it’s incredibly complicated. Well, it’s not complicated at all. In fact, it’s so uncomplicated it’s amazing. All it is about is the work. Finally, if you do the work people will notice and you will get what you want. That’s it. It’s as simple as that.”
we all need reminders every so often.