Advertisers at Work: Luke Sullivan

Luke Sullivan

After 30 years and 21 One Show Pencils in the ad business, author Luke Sullivan is now chair of the advertising department at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He’s the author of the popular advertising book Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising (Wiley, 2003); the blog Hey Whipple (www.heywhipple.com); and a memoir, Thirty Rooms to Hide In: Insanity, Addiction, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Shadow of the Mayo Clinic (CreateSpace, 2011). Sullivan now lives in Savannah with his family. He reports that he enjoys the indoors and likes to spend a lot of his time there.

Please enjoy the following excerpt from my interview with Luke Sullivan for Advertisers at Work:

Tuten: Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This is among the most-read, most-loved advertising books and one I, like many other advertising professors, recommend to students. What’s it like to be Luke Sullivan—the person who wrote such an influential book in the industry?

Sullivan: I wrote Whipple when I was at Fallon. I had been saving speeches and articles for a few years in a file. Gradually I started adding other people’s advice, insights, and articles and the file eventually grew unruly and bad-tempered. It would no longer fit in my file case and I didn’t want to buy a new one. Changing my storage system would’ve thrown off the design of my office. I’m serious.

Then one day I had to give a speech at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta and I raided that file for all it was worth. I handed out the notes of the speech and later learned the notes were turning up as screen savers in agencies here and there.

In addition to being flattered, I began thinking there was a market for a decent book on advertising. Most books—at least at the time—were pretty bad. All you had to do was look at the examples of “good advertising” these books contained and you could tell the authors weren’t practitioners of the craft, at least the craft I practice.

So I just started writing. I didn’t have a publisher nor any hope that such a book would be welcome onthe shelves of bookstores. But that was beside the point. I had to write this book—mostly to get it out of my system. I wrote it out of an obsession. Once I had the idea in my head, I literally could not stop working on it…

 

 

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