Special Report : Brian Harrod: ‘Perception, talent and taste’

.B10One of my favorite Brian Harrod stories took place in New York.It was about 20 years ago, at a time when 'The McCann System' frequently asked Toronto for help.Brian, Ken Boyd, Al Kazmer and I went there to work over the...

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One of my favorite Brian Harrod stories took place in New York.

It was about 20 years ago, at a time when ‘The McCann System’ frequently asked Toronto for help.

Brian, Ken Boyd, Al Kazmer and I went there to work over the weekend.

It was difficult to arrange getting into the office on Saturday and Sunday; apparently, back then, not many people did it.

Anyhow, we got in and worked from early Saturday morning into the early evening. Finally, we’d had enough and went back to the hotel. Except Brian. He was on to something and had to do ‘just a few more layouts.’

Back at the hotel, the three of us waited for Brian over some drinks, probably tea, as I remember.

We waited and waited. Two hours went by and no Brian. And, now, we were hungry. We called the extension at McCann. No answer. Something must have happened.

Finally, the hotel phone rang. It was Brian. He had worked so late that the security guard finally locked everything – including the door to the elevators.

So, Brian went down 17 flights of stairs to the main floor. The doors, however, were self-locking and he was trapped in the stairwell.

Finally, by pounding, kicking and shouting, Brian got the attention of the security guard who, of course, didn’t believe a word of his story.

He probably had never seen anybody from McCann in there at the weekend. (I’m sure that’s not true today.)

So, we returned to the office and vouched for Brian, who was angry largely because he had wasted an hour trying to get out.

In all his years at McCann, that was the only time I remember him not being productive. The saving grace was that he had some exercise running up and down stairs, which, if you know Brian, made it less than a complete waste of time.

Brian Harrod is a great advertising man for many reasons – like perception, talent and taste.

Sometimes overlooked is the fact that he works harder and more productively than just about anyone else in the business.

He hates wasting time. In stairwells, in New York or anywhere.