Phil Dusenberry built an infrastructure that supported great work and that’s it. In all the years I never saw one political issue arise. Everyone, account executives, producers, creatives worked diligently to make the work as good as it could be. I never once heard a word about “The client wants…” The clients actually were willing participants and enjoyed the process when they had the chance. Alan Pottasch was a team member. Phil gave his word to the clients and made sure we kept his word. Some of the jokes about this were: BBDO: Bring it Back and Do it Over. Or: If you don’t come in on Sunday, don’t come in on Monday. Phil also had a way of having clients support the work. The expense of celebrity was extraordinary but the residual benefit, additional press, etc., more than made up for it. Not running Madonna’s commercial probably got more publicity than the commercial would have gotten by running. There have been many intellectual analyses done about this commercial. Larry Bridges once sent me a brilliant feminist analysis of the commercial published in an intellectual magazine. A commercial? We did a spot of a guy trying to buy a Pepsi from a vending machine with a crumpled bill. The spot was being carried by a sound effect. I told the guys it was too Nike, it needed a piece of music. They said like what? Try LONESOME TOWN by Ricky Nelson. It made the commercial better. They bought the song. Four hundred grand, just like that. Why? It made the spot better.
In the end, Phil was like an old time studio executive riding herd on talented people. The only thing that counted was what was up there on the screen. No politics, no bullshit, just put it up there for all to see.
BBDO: Bring It Back And Do It Over.