Our meeting with Bob

In my short time at Doyle Dane Bernbach (I like saying the names as opposed to the initals),
I had only one meeting with Bob Levenson.

My copy supervisor was out of town and the assistant copy supervisor was on vacation
and I had to "show the copy" to someone.

It was for a National Volkswagen ad: someone had exhumed a headline I had done my
first month at the agency and thought it now qualified for National Magazines rather than
dealer newspaper or outdoor.

Having improved a bit as a copywriter, I re-wrote the body copy that had been okay for
Bergen County but not quite good enough for the entire nation to absorb and took it out
of the typewriter and went to Bob Levenson's office.

He took the piece of paper (now in later years I realized that Creative Directors of
Advertising Agencies didn't usually spend a millisecond looking at body copy
even for an ad that might run intergalactically) and read it. Slowly. To himself. Lips not moving.

"This is very charming," he said.

And handed the copy back to me.

"You're a very charming copywriter," he added smiling slightly as he said it.

I left his office kinda happy that my words would soon be in Life and Look and Time and
Newsweek and The New Yorker and then I stopped the litany and stopped walking and wondered:
Is charming a compliment? Does he want me to re-write it? Well, let me take a shot.

But at that moment, Dick Gerani and Barney Ryan and Harriet Messenger (traffic people all) came
around the corner asking simultaneously: "Tom, ya got that copy for the National Ad?"

"Here, past due but charming," and I gave them the Levenson-approved body copy.

Tom Messner
DDB Copywriter