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MY answer to the question above is: Mike Slosberg! 


     As an assistant executive at the world’s biggest, best-known Madison Avenue ad agency, using powder in my hair to look older (and now bootblack in what hair I have left to look younger!), I met Mike.  He was a prominent 18 years-older VP/Creative Director who liked that I hustled, told the truth, was sincere, and motivated (with three infant mouths to feed) . . . all slim-pickin’ character traits (and family circumstances) in that business, where most people pretended to hustle, pretended to tell the truth and rarely had family ties.

     Mike took months of hours to teach me about high-impact words and the creative process.  He gave me secret assignments as a moonlighting writer and helped me crank out award-winning advertising copy — from airline billboards, tire ads, and a still-famous hot dog jingle, to radio scripts and TV storyboards for bacon and eggs, brochures for washers and dryers, you name it!

     Mike taught me the four most important words every writer needs to hear.  “It’s not good enough!”  I remember him saying this, then smiling over the tops of his reading glasses.  His challenge always produced better work.  He made me write a billboard first for every assignment (“seven words or less—with a beginning, middle, an end, and be persuasive!”)  Many years later, I still start every book, article, ad, website, brochure, script, jingle, blog post, email, and personal letter, with a billboard.  “Forced encapsulation” I call it. 

     When I moved on to another ad agency, I arranged to have a NYC parking meter delivered to Mike with a note attached:  “Thanks for the time!” and told him I’d get him a floor stand for it, which I never remembered to do.  Decades later, a copy of his one and only novel arrived one day in the mail inscribed “Where the hell’s my parking meter stand? All my best – Mike”

     Thanks for listening!  And thanks, Mike Slosberg . . . wherever you are!               halalpiar

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