« Home | Is the grass really all that greener? » | Upside-down and topsy turvy » | I feel pretty! » | So Pretty! » | The definition of "Retchid-Nasty-Funk" » | Spontaneity for 400, Alex » | Our nephew, Stone » | That's "Ohma" to you » | Uncle Shelton and Stone » | Hey... Put 'em up! »

Impressed

Last night I had the privilege of meeting Scott Gilbert, the former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi New York. Scott worked in advertising for barely 25 years and was lucky enough to retire at the age of 50, but he left an enviable mark on the business.

The heroes of advertising go unmentioned and unnoticed, but their contributions are many and great. Amongst Scott's many accomplishments, most notable was his introduction and development of the Lexus brand.

Our CEO was fresh out of school when he first worked in an agency for Scott. Over the years they've kept in touch and last night we hosted a dinner for the agency and all of our clients with Scott as the speaker.

He told us how he first met with the Eiji Toyoda (grand poobah of Toyota at the time) in 1987 and how Mr. Toyoda had just challenged his engineers to create the best car in the world. Scott and a team of two other men were challenged with bringing this brand to the masses and making it work.

To be more efficient, Scott and two other men found an empty office within Saatchi, taped a sign to the door that said "Team One" and began working to create Lexus. Some time later, Team One was created- another one of the advertising agency greats.

He impressed upon us the importance of passion in this business, how a little push back to the client isn't necessarily a bad thing and it often breeds something greater and how when a consumer says nothing it can have meaning stronger than when they do.

He told all of us the story behind creating Lexus, the challenges they faced and how it became one of the most powerful brands in automobiles at a rate they didn't expect. We were shown several early TV spots; as well as an old SNL skit in which David Spade and Phil Hart mock the Lexus w/ "The Chameleon"- the junker car on the outside that is luxurious on the inside to deter theft.

At the end of the presentation he opened up for questions. I started the Q&A by asking what kind of car he currently drives- he said a Toyota, his wife is in a Lexus. I just wanted to make sure.

Scott is certainly not a household name, but his work most certainly is.

Links to this post

Create a Link