Howard Gossage

I’ve just been reading Steve Harrison’s excellent biography of Howard Gossage, Changing The World Is The Only Fit Work For A Grown Man (great title, and true).

(This is not a proper piece of film. It’s just the only way I can show the cover without uploading a picture, which WordPress won’t let me do).

It’s a rollicking good read, letting us briskly into the mind of a truly fascinating man.

He always did things his way, keeping his agency small to maintain quality (love to see anyone really brilliant trying that these days).

He developed interactivity in the 50s, always adding a coupon to his ads, even if it was just to ask the reader what was on their mind.

He created stunts fifty years ago that would put today’s efforts to shame. One of these involved inventing Beethoven sweatshirts to promote a beer. There had till that point never even been pictures on sweatshirts, but the demand for these was so great that it generated too many orders to cope with, along with thousands of press reports.

He also introduced us to wide scale environmentalism, first saving the Grand Canyon, the creating Earth Day.

My favourite part involves a story of a customer competition to name new colours for a shirt. Some of the suggestions were ‘Come And Get Me Copper’, ‘Medi Ochre’ and Statutory Grape’.

Top man, top book. Give it a read.