Ted Sann is an unsung hero. He was in charge of the creative support system in the glory days of BBDO. Although he couldn’t directly take credit for any of it, he was responsible for all of it. For a long time, there were basically two important advertising agencies, BBDO, the big one, and Wieden and Kennedy, the creative boutique. Ted should have been an English professor at a small college in Ohio. He dressed in tweeds and the only thing missing was a slim volume of poetry under his arm. How he survived the madness that was BBDO is a story I’m not prepared to tell, but here’s a story that might give insight into his methodology.
I get a storyboard/script for GE. I call Ted:
Ted. Why are you sending me this board? It sucks.
That’s why I sent you this board.
It’s just a bunch of equipment shots.
That’s what they sold the client.
What do I do?
You’ll figure it out.
Ted, what if we see the people saying the stuff in the voiceover. It humanizes the spot.
That could work.
You have to pay them anyway since you’re using their voices.
Good, there’s no more money.
Do I still have to shoot the equipment?
It’s what we sold the client.
There’s a great story about the process from then on but I’m saving that for another time. Let’s just say that this was the first commercial for GE that won a Clio. The creatives never forgave me for changing the spot.
Ted was an unsung hero for all the success BBDO had during their glory years. Many many careers were built under his supervision and help. A lot of guys (and a few girls) think it was all them.
Send Ted a check.