Update 27 May 2012: When I first posted this in 2007, I asked the question “Where are all the Mad Women?” and tonight’s episode of Mad Men, “The Other Woman” answered that. “Finally, someone beautiful, with talent and a caring heart, takes an almost impossible step toward a career, and a life well lived.”
Here’s is the original post from October 25, 2007:
This TV series from the producers of The Sopranos has certainly succeeded in providing an opportunity for one former Austin ad man to reflect on what was happening in our little part of the advertising pond in 1971 (which is like 1960 in Austin years). Ed. Note: This was originally posted in the Reader Forum of the Daily Texan, student newspaper of UT Austin. More about Mad Men at Mad Men Mad.
Media 70 at UT Austin – Predecessor to the World Wide Web?
While a Freshman Orientation Advisor with the UT Dean of Students in the summers of 68-70, I joined a group of fellow UT students: Pete Peters, Bill Gurasich, Kay Morris, Roy Spence, Kenny Meyer, Dave Hendrick, Judy Trabulsi and others, in a multi-media group called Media 70 (it was not formed in 1970, but like Route 66 was named because of it’s future looking philosophy). Bill and Pete were the founders, and through the office of UT Dean of Students Margaret Berry, and with the energy of Associate Dean of Men, Jack Kaplan, and RTF professor Richard Byrne, among others, the group produced a number of slide/tape/video shows with folk, pop and rock music to introduce new students to UT and to the world of issues and ideas. (The first Idea City?) Tim McClure and Jim Darilek provided advertising and graphic design. The group also did media shows for the Student Union. The biggest productions of the group came in 1970 with the “Death of Academia” (the firing of Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences John Silber [later Boston College President] ), and a glossy feature, The Wozard of Iz, adding live actors on stage and on 16 mm film, and an actual story line, based on the 1968 psychedelic pop album, see The Wozard of Iz.
AdVantage Associates – An Advertising Agency
When college ended for most of us in 1971, and Media 70 needed new direction for it’s energy, 5 of us teamed up with Bill’s brother Steve and founded AdVantage Associates. Tim McClure and Jim Darilek had their own agency, and even though we were in competition there was a real sense of sharing the goal of success. They used us for some media (multi media, not buying media, these are 2 different things) consultation, and we used Jim’s considerable art talent.
Pearl Brewery Pitch – The Youth Market
The biggest product that summer was a totally ‘ahead of its time’ proposal to Pearl Beer for Country Club Malt Liquor, including black light billboards, a media bus ‘happening’ touring college campuses, and rock n roll music in radio spots. Pearl was after the famous Youth Market, and we were the new kids on the block. The campaign even sported temperature sensitive dayglo labels on beer cans, sound familiar? Steve Gurasich and Roy Spence pitched it in San Antonio, and Pearl Beer’s response was very good, until Nixon’s price/wage freeze (http://freedomkeys.com/pricecontrols5.htm) caught Pearl with promotional prices, and scuttled the Youth advertising campaign for Pearl Beer. We were crushed.
Summer in the City – 1971
Steve went off to the National Guard summer camp, and a couple of us had other summer commitments – Roy, myself and Dave went back to Austin, working in a spare room in somebody’s rented house, to learn hard scrabble advertising. We had just 3 tiny accounts – Casa de Oro (jewelry store on the Drag), a carpet store out on North 183 (selling remnants via print) and a men’s clothing store. We knew how to write copy and formulate ideas, but we knew diddly do-do about advertising. In the fall, we rented a small 8×10 office around 15th Street and then later a larger multi room office on 34th, and did a pretty good job with Contessa/Contessa West (Live Like You Feel) and others. In the early spring of 1972, Roy scored (with the help of Garry Mauro) the Ralph Yarborough senatorial campaign – which was an absolute major coup for a bunch of college kids. This was AdVantage Associates still. I was a partner, copywriter and the primary photographer in 1971-1972.
1972 Texas Ralph Yarborough Senatorial Campaign – Political Guns
This was a state-wide political campaign, and whatever else GSD&M has done later, the respect that Roy Spence achieved with that 1972 campaign turned heads then, and absolutely set up the future direction for him and of the group. However, graduating into the real world of big time, cut-throat advertising was a real crucible for all of us. It was hard, nasty, and in the end Yarborough lost a close runoff in the primary to Barefoot Sanders, and we never even got to November to battle with John Tower. We also didn’t get paid nearly what we were promised. The money just wasn’t there when you lose the race. La di da. La di da.
Gurasich, Spence, Darilek, & McClure (& Trabulsi)
Some people who were in the group in 1971 you know about (GSD&M), and the rest of us seem to have gotten lost in years of agency press releases, sloppy articles in advertising and alumni magazines and poorly researched interviews. After Yarborough lost the primary runoff in the summer of 1972, four of the primary partners of AdVantage Associates, Steve Gurasich, Roy Spence, Bill Gurasich, and Judy Trabulsi decided to dissolve AdVantage Associates and team up with Darilek-McClure Advertising to form what the world now knows as GSD&M Idea City. This is not in 1971, it was in the late summer and fall of 1972. This is reported incorrectly in http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/24/GSD-M-Advertising.html.
So even though there were “6 recently graduated UT students who formed the agency…” as stated, the agency that was founded in 1971 was not yet GSD&M, but AdVantage Associates, and morphed into the ad giant later in the fall of 1972.
History Can Be So Inconvenient
Pete Peters, Kay Morris, Kenny Meyer, Dave Hendrick and Barry Everett were all part of Media 70 during our UT years. Hell, Pete Peters invented the media group, with Bill Gurasich. In 1971, Dave Hendrick and I joined with four of the other Media 70 partners (Bill and Steve Gurasich, Roy Spence, and Judy Trabulsi) to form the limited partnership called AdVantage Associates. Steve Gurasich, Tim McClure and Jim Darilek were never principals in Media 70, but did contribute. McClure/Darilek were never in AdVantage Associates, they had their own ad agency, while Steve’s brother Bill Gurasich and his crazy friends were playing with the multi media stuff. And in 1971 and half of 1972, Dave Hendrick and Barry Everett were founding partners in AdVantage Associates. When the ’72 election campaign started, I flew with Senator Yarborough, Scott Bunton (Yarbrough’s aide) and Garry Mauro (campaign manager) around the state, photographing the press conferences and meetings, when the Senator announced and the campaign took off. When the campaign was over, and ways parted for AdVantage Associates in late summer of 1972, there were no hard feelings or sour grapes whatever. I did some photography for GSD&M for awhile, before we drifted apart and they needed much more talented folks than I.
The Truth Lies Somewhere…
My only problem whatsoever with this scenario, was that, in compiling an uncomplicated version of the history of the beginnings of one of the most successful advertising ventures in Texas and certainly the most successful ever in Austin, someone found it necessary to leave out a few details. Now to some these may be minor details, a long time ago, and not at all impacting on the course of the larger history. Nevertheless they did happen, and they happened they way I have described here. Does it matter? Only to Pete Peters, Kay Morris, Kenny Meyer, David Hendrick, and Barry Everett. And to my parents, Marv and Nita Everett, now gone, who I told I worked in advertising in Austin in the 70s and founded an ad agency with a bunch of other really talented kids.
Keep watching Mad Men (where are the Mad Women?), and see if you don’t recognize someone you know. Can’t wait for the 2nd season in 2008. One thought that keeps popping up in Mad Men, and seems to typify all of history as I have observed it: “A man is who he is when he walks into the room. Everything before is a trivial pursuit.” Catchy thought. Wonder if anybody’s used it before. Ha!
Barry Everett (UT Austin ’71, Media 70, AdVantage Associates)