Schaper Toys. It was a difficult account. The main client was legendary for his difficulty. Network TV was, of course, “rich” in executional regulations that nearly made an idea impossible. And every year we had to produce at least a dozen spots at the same time for Toy Fair, the trade show that determined which new toys lived and which died.
Ron and David Bell had talked the client into doing spot TV for the most exciting toys to give them more excitement at Toy Fair.
Art Director Tom Donovan (of countless awards with Bert Gardner and who had originally hired Ron at Knox Reeves Advertising) was in the paste-up room, mounting 13 storyboards that were going to Schaper that afternoon. Ron had not seen them so I went into his office to get him to come to the paste-up room and walk him through them.
“Are they great?” he asked.
“Well, five of them are network spots so they’re better network spots but they’re not going to win any awards. The others, though, are great. Tom and I are pretty excited about them.”
“Good,” he said. “I’ll see them in the show books.”
When I questioned why he didn’t want to see them he said, “I hired you to do great work. You said you’ve done that. So your time is better spent thinking about how to sell it.”
I remember thinking, “OK, let’s feel some pressure now.” Then Ron smiled and said, “Just remember, there’s nothing you can do that I can’t fix.”
There it was. Supreme Ron. He hired us to take the chances it takes to be great. He gave us the freedom to fail. And if we did, he had our back.