Blast from Past mines the back catalogue of Applied Arts Magazine to revive articles from years gone by. it’s our attempt at bringing to light the figures, firms and events that shaped the Canadian visual communications industry. Revisiting the stories and giants of yesteryear gives us an appreciation of where we came from and, perhaps, an indication of where we’re heading.
This feature article was written by five top copywriters, sharing their thoughts on the role of writers and the importance of great ad copy. It was published in the Summer 1987 issue of the magazine.
By Gary Prouk, Chairman and Creative Director of Scali, McCabe, Sloves (Canada)
In 1966, I was 22 years old. I’d been writing advertising copy for three years at a great big, old agency in Toronto. One day I took an ad I’d ripped from a magazine to a client meeting. Not only was the client one of the agency’s largest, but also its most smug and hidebound worshipper of dogma I suggested this ad was unique and people would really notice it and believe it. He asked why he should have ads like that. At that moment I realized I was working at the wrong place.
The management of the agency couldn’t understand why I was leaving.
“You’re doing so well here,” they said. “You could be president one day.”
“I know,” I replied. “That’s why I’m leaving.” The ad was for Avis and talked about being only number two and having to try harder. The point is, my goal was never to be president of anything; it was to write great advertising.