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Random Whimsy: Advertising Icon
Larry Tate

by Mark Woodruff, Special to AdBanter.com

Larry Tate, one of the greats ever to grace the advertising business, recently sat down with our guy Mark Woodruff for an exclusive interview. Sure, Tate's dead and has been for a while. But this is the Internet and new ground is being broken every day. Consider this the first back-from-the-dead chat on the Net (unless Vanilla Ice's career has chatted before).

AdBanter: As a principal at McMann and Tate Advertising, you were one of the most famous icons the advertising industry has ever known. What was the proudest achievement in your advertising career?

Tate: When we landed the Johnson Soup Company account, I came up with an absolutely splendid slogan: "Johnson Soup - the soup that tastes good."

AdBanter: Gee, that's killer. But didn't your adman Darrin Stephens actually write that slogan?

Tate: Maybe. Well, darn it, yes. But I was the one who made Darrin stay up late for two weeks to finish the work while I took the client to the swanky country club for golf and martinis. You know, drinking heavily was a lot more acceptable during the '60s and '70s. And, if you got sloshed or asked for a double martini during a particularly stressful moment, it was perceived as pretty darn funny ... none of this "politically incorrect" mumbo jumbo.

AdBanter: You drank a lot on your TV show, "Bewitched."

Tate: TV show? I'm afraid you are confused, my good man. I'm an advertising executive with McMann and Tate.

AdBanter: Uh-huh. There were two Darrins. Which one was the best adman?

Tate: Two Darrins? Pal, are you coo-coo? I think you've been in the sun too long, my friend. (laugh track)

AdBanter: Come on, Tate. The first Darrin was funny and wacky, and then he mysteriously disappeared from the show and was replaced by that crappy, wussy Darrin that nobody liked.

Tate: There's only ONE Darrin Stephens, and he's the best darn adman in the business. I'll stake my, er, his job on it! (laugh track)

AdBanter: Did you know Samantha was a witch?

Tate: Well, I know she got a little bitchy sometimes, but ... (laugh track)

AdBanter: Would you like something alcoholic to drink right now?

Tate: Yeah, a double - no, better make it a triple. (laugh track) Now see? THAT'S funny. And in my day, it was particularly funny to get smashed and then slurringly ask for "jush one more li'l (hic) drinkiepoo."

AdBanter: As I said earlier, you were one of the most recognized ad industry icons. Do you think it's ironic that you have been more recognized in the advertising industry than, say, David Ogilvy?

Tate: Who's Dagid (hic) Ovilgy? (laugh track)




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