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!”