George Parker: a close escape for Microsoft – and me

My good friend and “Fearless” drinking mate, Jerry Judge, did a piece the other day about the award of the Microsoft account to McCann. Oh yes in-fucking-deed… As Jerry, points out, McCann had the account a dozen or so years ago. The work was shit… Total shit… Remember the fat guys dressed as butterflies?

Retired train engine driver, Casey Jones, was running the show for McCann, SF, until he departed to Dell, where he was instrumental in persuading the “Poisoned Dwarf” to set up Enfatico… The “Agency of the Future.” Yes, yet another one that would change everything by knocking down the walls and blowing up the silos. Two years and several million dollars later, it was the “Agency of the Past.” Yawn, fucking yawn.

I do not expect any difference from McCann this time around. Indeed, I do not expect that Microsoft wants anything different this time around. Readers of AdScam will know that this is the perfect example of a BDA delivering to a BDC exactly what they are each capable of.


1004red_BillSteveI once had a mega-bucks dinner with Bill Gates and “Sweaty” Ballmer at the Ivy in LA.

Ogilvy New York wanted me to be the CD on the Microsoft account when they handled it out of their LA office. I didn’t want to move from NY, but Bill Hamilton, the best fucking creative director in the universe, who I have worked for, and got pissed with, at Chiat, Ogilvy and JWT (Ooops, J. Walter Thompson in its latest transmogrification) gave me a few thousand dollars from his white wine and Peruvian marching powder “Slush Fund” to go through the motions.

Hey, I’m an AdHo, I can be bought. So I flew out first class and checked into my pool side chalet at the Bel-Air. Got cleaned up, had a couple of pops, then went for dinner.

It was the most frightening evening of my life.

Bill Gates, who was drinking vintage champagne (on Ogilvy’s tab) and rocking backwards and forwards in his chair whilst distributing dandruff all over the Ivy’s finest linen, never stopped asking me the kind of ridiculous questions I could not fucking answer. Across the table, Ballmer grinned and sweated profusely, whilst the two Ogilvy suits wished I would just drop dead.

When I got back to New York, I told Bill H., there was no way I would work on the account.

Bill said “I never thought you would.”

Then we went out and got pissed.

I miss Bill.

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About George Parker

George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.