Alas, I don’t have any of the work I did with Ed McCabe. There has never been a wittier writer than Ed. How do you come up with the line, “IT TAKES A TOUGH MAN TO MAKE A TENDER CHICKEN”? I never worked on that campaign but it certainly was a precursor to Bartles and Jaymes. Ed’s writing for Volvo inspired the BMW stuff that has never reached the heights that Ed reached. Part of the reason was that Ed was beyond compromise. It was Ed’s way or the highway. Once, during a new business presentation, Ed was particularly aggressive. After the meeting, one of his account executives approached the would-be client and apologized for Ed’s behavior. The ‘client’ told the account executive that Ed’s behavior and attitude is exactly what they needed.
Those days are gone now. Then advertising was an entrepreneurial business. All you had to do was make a living. You didn’t have to serve some hidden master in a castle somewhere. The best description of the business came from Carl Ally. AS LONG AS THERE ARE AS MANY CLIENTS COMING IN AS GOING OUT YOU’RE OKAY.
I recently went to Ed’s induction into the Art Directors Club Hall Of Fame. That’s right, a writer in the Art Directors Club. I think it’s the first time that had been done, and seeing the work in one place was overwhelming, astonishing, fresh, original, perceptive, even now. Go, Ed!