Editorial: Special People

The concept of publishing a series of tributes celebrating some of the people who have really made a difference to Canadian advertising and marketing was one of those unpredictable things that just happened. A series of disparate thoughts that chain-reacted into...

The concept of publishing a series of tributes celebrating some of the people who have really made a difference to Canadian advertising and marketing was one of those unpredictable things that just happened. A series of disparate thoughts that chain-reacted into an idea.

It started with a press release, one of among countless assorted messages, bulletins, faxes and mailings that make it into our newsroom on any given day.

At first glance, there was nothing particularly striking about this one. No fanfare to draw one’s attention. It simply pointed out that Creative Director Terry O’Malley was celebrating his 30th anniversary with the venerable Canadian ad agency Vickers & Benson Advertising. There was probably some reference to how uncommon it is these days to find someone lasting three decades with one company, and that the agency was marking the occasion with a private party, and an outdoor poster nearby carried a message thanking Terry for 30 great years.

The release made its way into the news lineup as a potential item for our next issue, and, likely, would have made it into the paper as a couple of inches on an inside news page.

That’s when the chain reaction began.

Wait a minute. This is Terry O’Malley, among the best that this industry has produced. Thirty years at v&b and he gets two inches on page six?

No.

As we said in the first of our tribute series (Strategy, May 16) that honored O’Malley and what he has contributed so far in his career:

‘We could not allow more than 30 years of excellence to go unrecognized and unnoticed. To do so would diminish us all.’

We went on to say that we hoped to find opportunities to publish more similar tributes, indeed, to turn this idea into a series, highlighting the contributions of deserving individuals in Canadian marketing.

The series continues as a second section in this issue, celebrating art director Brian Harrod, one of the architects of modern-day Canadian advertising, and now a partner in his own agency, Harrod & Mirlin.

The format is structured to parallel a tribute dinner.

Harrod is the featured guest. The ‘dinner’ opens with a photograph of Harrod and a one-on-one conversation with Strategy. His work is put on display in the centre-spread.

And, as it happens at such tributes, glimpses into the real person that we are honoring are provided through a number of impromptu speeches from colleagues and friends who have known Harrod over the years. Others have joined the occasion, and, in fact, have helped make the dinner happen by taking out tables and giving personal tributes in the form of advertising space.

Like a tribute dinner, the purpose of this publishing event is to give deserving and respectful praise to exceptional people. It is meant to acknowledge individual achievement and to bring people together in celebration of it.