I Remember Bob Levenson



When you think of Bob Levenson, you think of the memorable work he did for Volkswagon, El Al,
Sarah Lee and Mobil, certainly not Gain detergent. Yet that was the first thing I thought of when I
heard of Bob's passing. Gain was a particularly difficult account to work on. Proctor & Gamble had
rules - early product entry, a skeptic and a teacher who would within 30 seconds convince the skeptic
of the product advantage, and repetition of the theme line. For an agency that lived by the mantra that
"the only rule is there are no rules", it was exasperating, frustrating, exhausting, and challenging. The
product advantage of Gain was the fact that it left clothes with a fresh smell, implying that the clothes
were therefore cleaner. But the copy could never make that claim because it had to be government
approved and any suggestion that that was the case was not approved. As anyone who worked with
P&G knows, the client expected new campaign's every 3-4 weeks, even after they approved one for
production. Into the mix was a campaign created by Bob. It featured a romantic couple in an intimate
setting. As the couple embraced, the man would sniff the woman's clothes and ask "What's that your
wearing?" at which point she would exclaim, "Gain." But the most brilliant part of the campaign was
the closing line where the man would ask, "Does it smell so fresh because it's so clean? Or is it clean
because it smells so fresh?" There was no answer and yet that was the answer for the challenging
problem. Even on difficult assignments, Bob created a memorable campaign. He was everything that
was good and unique about Doyle Dane Bernbach.


Walt Hampton
DDB Copywriter