Jan 31, 2009

Jay Chiat left an impression on so many of us

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: Super Bowl| advertising| nostalgia| trendspotting

jaychiatThere are a few people in life who are genuinely unforgettable and Jay Chiat is one of those people. Whenever I find myself challenged by something completely new and thoroughly overwhelming, I look for an imaginary WWJD bracelet and think: What would Jay (not Jesus!) do? Or better still, how would I master this particular new mountain of opportunity or mania if I still had to answer to my most famous boss, legendary ad man Jay Chiat. Because this weekend is such an important one for his memory (it’s the 25th anniversary of the launch of “1984,” the Apple commercial that made the Super Bowl the Super Bowl of Advertising), I have been thinking about him all morning. I’ve been watching old videos. My good friend, and another former boss, Bob Jeffrey, shared my all-time favorite Jay story (happened before my time but it was legendary) with Adweek for the magazine’s 30th anniversary celebration. I can watch the film over and over again and remember why I fell in love with the marketing business: It’s all about nerve and joy and bold intellect. And did I mention a touch of insanity?  Tom Carroll also has great Jay stories on the Adweek 30th video compilation. And here, Steve Jobs previews Apple’s Mac campaign (which really launched Chiat\Day to the world) just before its debut on the 1984 Super Bowl.

 

Interestingly, I also went back and looked at the announcement Jay made when he named me the agency’s first head of new media, then called emerging media, back in 1994. Here is a direct quote from the release: “The world of new media and technology is already an integrated part of the agency and its creative resources. Marian’s presence assures that Chiat\Day will be making smart decisions about applying the new technologies to individual client needs. We see her as a futures analyst for the new technology,” said Jay Chiat. “We’re not establishing a new media group but rather integrating into each account group our understanding of emerging technology and how it impacts new communications,” Chiat said.  How visionary was he? Fully 15 years before people began to recognize that everything is digital, and that compartmentalizing digitivity is oh so “Mad Men.”

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