The Day Bob Gage Gave Me ‘The Look.’

Lou Linder and I were assigned a trade ad for Poloraid Sunglasses. A black & white spread that
would appear in a trade magazine that nobody read. Except the account guys in the Polaroid

We deligently worked on solving the problem. We filled the walls with ideas. Picked our favorite
and made an appointment to show Bob Gage our creation.

Knowing it was Bob Gage, I spent extra time on the layout. Lou spent extra time writing rough
copy in case Bob wanted to read further.

The next day we showed up outside Bob’s office waiting our turn to show our ad to
Mr. Polaroid or should I say: Mr. Art Director.

Bob as usual was working at his drawing table. No doubt, creating another classic ad.
[Which he could do in his sleep]

We said hello, without genuflecting. Bob nodded in our direction. Lou gave a brief set-up to our
precious trade ad. “The trade doesn’t know how safe Polaroid Sunglasses are for your eyes.”
I proudly spread my magic marker layout across Bob’s drawing table, covering one of his
beautiful layouts.

Bob looked up at me and said: “You call this a layout?”

Thinking I was still back in Brooklyn, I said: I wouldn’t have shown it to you, if I didn’t think it
was good!”


Bob peered up at me from beneath those bi-focals of his.
[You’ve seen him do that when he was pissed]

It seemed like a eternity before he answered.

“Go back and show me a layout!”

Lou like a good team member took it on the chin with me. But Lou being Lou said, as soon as we
walked out of his office. “I knew not to trust an Italian Art Director again.”

With a great layout I could redeem myself or forever be on Bob’s shit house.

Back in my office. I ordered some stats. I cut this. I blew up that. Instead of a drawing. I begged
Lenny in the photo studio to squeeze me in.

I reduced this. Moved over that. I even used instant lettering type for the headline. Now larger
and bolder than before.

We made another appointment for my potential execution.

We walked into Bob’s office like ‘Dead Man Walking.’ Lou the priest praying by my side. Me the
dead man.

I was smart enough not to say a word. I just handed our ad to Bob. This time mounted not
tissue paper stapled to ledger.

Lucky for me, Bob wasn’t wearing his glasses that day.

He got up from his throne, I mean chair and took me by the hand and said: “Come with me.”

Convinced he was taking me to the elevator and out of the building – he turned right, straight to
Ben Spiegel’s office.

Bob still holding my hand said to Ben: “Look at this terrific layout, this kid did!”

Over the years at DDB, I learned more than how to do a good layout from Bob.

I learned how to supervise others. How to challenge them without attacking them. How to praise
people for a job well done.

Bob was and still is my hero. As a Hall of Fame Art Director and a Hall of Fame person.

We were ALL lucky to be lead by a person like Bob Gage.

Dom Marino
DDB Art Director