Bob Garfield. A man of impeccable judgment

Longtime AdAge ad critic Bob Garfield quit recently. Bob, like any creative personality, has a bit of an edge to him. This didn’t sit so well with the conservative publicity hungry ad industry.

Bob mentioned my Bud work in his final column. Which was nice. I remember when he first critiqued it he wasn’t quite so sure what to make of it. Which is exactly how I hoped it would be received. He later went out of his way to rectify this “error”. Which means he’s a good and nice guy. He had the reaction i fervently hoped for: “What is this???”

But my overarching memory of Bob Garfield was as host of the London International Awards in 2001. This was the scene. Bob was bantering his way through an awards show that I already knew we had gotten Best of Show in. That was why we were there. This was just the latest Best of Show award we had gotten that year. We had gotten quite used to this. The thrill was gone.

So we showed up in London from Chicago. Very relaxed about the whole thing. We stayed in the Lancaster Hotel where the show was. We met a journalist from Campaign. Had a drink and went to the show.

We noticed that all the tables had lots of bottles of wine on the tables. Apparently you had to guesstimate the amount of booze (wine) you thought your table would drink in advance of the event. And it being England, they all guessed A LOT OF WINE!

So the crowd was getting woefully sloshed as the long night went on. And eventually they turned on Bob Garfield, the host. They started heckling. And English hecklers are funny and cutting. Bread rolls were thrown. Etc.

But Bob kept right on going. He earned my respect that night. We met briefly when we got all our awards at the very end.

My last memory was two really drunk English guys fighting at the after party. One of them swinging his winged maiden bronze statue at his opponent.

I remember thinking “You’re back in London Vinny!”

4 responses to “Bob Garfield. A man of impeccable judgment

  1. Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    I am curious Vinny about your initial comment on the Ad Industry being Conservative Publicity Hungry Ad Industry. I definitely see tons of shameless promoters on Twitter, the Trade Pubs, and Blogs but I come from working on Military and Aerospace projects with lots of real uptight folks I couldn’t wear my earring around. My first sales meeting for the Agency that got me into this industry was with Kinetic WW in NYC and one of the attendees was a beautiful lass with her right arm a full tattoo sleeve. Guys wore earrings (and pony tails OMG!) I was the only one with a suit.

    So I have to assume your take was more aimed at creativity? I also haven’t been to my first industry gathering or conference yet, or even a happy hour so sorry if I sound green and naive.

    Also nice things to say about Bob, your one of the few I have seen to do so. Oh did I also say yet that I find a lot of cattiness in the Industry too ;-)

  2. tattoos and piercings and interesting sneakers are usually in inverse proportion to actual creative talent in my experience howie. the ad industry thinks it’s progressive and cutting edge but really it isn’t. it can be a very bitchy and frightened bunch.

    bob was a professional ad critic. he had power. he had an opinion. he couldn’t be controlled. that’s what pissed off the ad community.

  3. Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    So there is a big separation between creative and socially liberal. I will never prejudge anyone unless the prejudge me first ;-)

    And thank you for the Bob Garfield info. I value your views and opinion more than most or otherwise I wouldn’t come to your blog or follow you on twitter.

  4. Sure aerospace engineers may seem uptight with their white shirts, ties and what looks like poles up their asses, but just look at what they can do with tiny pieces of plastic. That’s some real creativity and ingenuity.

    Give em a problem and a deadline and they will solve it almost every time. Maybe us ad creatives have a lot we can learn from engineers.

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