Sex Sells: The True Tales Behind the Greatest Ads of the '80s by Roger Mosconi - Read Online
Sex Sells
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Summary

This novel is about one man’s highly successful and award winning journey along New York City’s fabled Madison Avenue, and a real peek behind the scenes of life on the fast track in the multi-billion dollar advertising industry.

Much like ‘Broadcast News’,‘Wall Street’, ‘Jerry McGuire’, and ‘Barbarians at the Gate’ exposed their dark, secretive, behind-the-glamour worlds, so will ‘Sex Sells’ expose the extremely powerful ad industry and its manipulative control over the American public.

You will be taken on one hell of a scintillating tour that spans some 38 years of kicking, clawing, getting stepped on, and stepping on and over others as the author climbs to the top of the corporate ladder in some of Madison Avenue’s largest and most illustrious advertising agencies.

It’s a hard hitting behind-the-scenes exposé about those few insignificant Machiavellian craftsmen who have mastered the power and politics of information and salesmanship to persuade over 200 million Americans to purchase products and services that they neither want nor need.

You will be witness to what really happened during and after the filming of the now famous and considered to be the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time, the ‘Mean Joe Greene’ Coca-Cola television commercial as the author weaves a page-turning tale of betrayal, back stabbing, manipulation, and even piracy that near destroyed the commercial before it ever made it to ‘on air’.

“Promise them anything, but give them nothing!”
Find yourself sitting front row and center when ad agencies go into one of their feeding frenzies to recruit and raise their armies of young talent with promises of mega-salaries, limousines, sex, drugs, huge expense accounts, and the most tempting of all, those big accounts with clients that have very, very deep pockets.
“No good deed goes unpunished!”
You’ll be exposed to the depths of evil to which these so-called craftsmen will stoop. You’ve always assumed that lurking behind the façade of all that glamour and excitement existed a dog-eat-dog world. Well, guess what, you were totally right. But that strange little feeling that’s now beginning to grow in your stomach is taking you beyond that. Now is when you begin to realize that you are no longer just a spectator, no, not this time. This may be the author’s personal story, but somehow this story is also about you. “Open your eyes people, you too are the victim here!”

What these Machiavellian craftsmen are doing to the author is exactly what they’re doing to you, and they’re doing it to you every ten minutes of every day.

It doesn’t matter to them, including this author, if you’re male or female. It doesn’t matter whether you’re three years old, or seventy years old, they don’t give a shit. You can be black, you can be white, you can be yellow, or red, its totally meaningless to them, so long as you buy what they’re selling. “SHIT!! They’ll even speak to you in tongues if that’s what it takes to separate you from your money.”

And, if all else fails they’ll resort to sex to sell it to you. Sex always works. Hell, sex can sell anything. That’s advertising 101.

Published: Roger Mosconi on
ISBN: 9780981724041
List price: $5.95
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Sex Sells - Roger Mosconi

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Introduction

This novel is about one man’s highly successful and award winning journey along New York City’s fabled Madison Avenue, and a real peek behind the scenes of life on the fast track in the multi-billion dollar advertising industry.

Much like ‘Broadcast News’,‘Wall Street’, ‘Jerry McGuire’, and ‘Barbarians at the Gate’ exposed their dark, secretive, behind-the-glamour worlds, so will ‘Sex Sells’ expose the extremely powerful ad industry and its manipulative control over the American public.

You will be taken on one hell of a scintillating tour that spans some 38 years of kicking, clawing, getting stepped on, and stepping on and over others as the author climbs to the top of the corporate ladder in some of Madison Avenue’s largest and most illustrious advertising agencies.

It’s a hard hitting behind-the-scenes exposé about those few insignificant Machiavellian craftsmen who have mastered the power and politics of information and salesmanship to persuade over 200 million Americans to purchase products and services that they neither want nor need.

You will be witness to what really happened during and after the filming of the now famous and considered to be the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time, the ‘Mean Joe Greene’ Coca-Cola television commercial as the author weaves a page-turning tale of betrayal, back stabbing, manipulation, and even piracy that near destroyed the commercial before it ever made it to ‘on air’.

"Promise them anything, but give them nothing!"

Find yourself sitting front row and center when ad agencies go into one of their feeding frenzies to recruit and raise their armies of young talent with promises of mega-salaries, limousines, sex, drugs, huge expense accounts, and the most tempting of all, those big accounts with clients that have very, very deep pockets.

"No good deed goes unpunished!"

You’ll be exposed to the depths of evil to which these so-called craftsmen will stoop. You’ve always assumed that lurking behind the façade of all that glamour and excitement existed a dog-eat-dog world. Well, guess what, you were totally right. But that strange little feeling that’s now beginning to grow in your stomach is taking you beyond that. Now is when you begin to realize that you are no longer just a spectator, no, not this time. This may be the author’s personal story, but somehow this story is also about you. Open your eyes people, you too are the victim here!

What these Machiavellian craftsmen are doing to the author is exactly what they’re doing to you, and they’re doing it to you every ten minutes of every day.

It doesn’t matter to them, including this author, if you’re male or female. It doesn’t matter whether you’re three years old, or seventy years old, they don’t give a shit. You can be black, you can be white, you can be yellow, or red, its totally meaningless to them, so long as you buy what they’re selling. SHIT!! They’ll even speak to you in tongues if that’s what it takes to separate you from your money.

And, if all else fails they’ll resort to sex to sell it to you. Sex always works. Hell, sex can sell anything. That’s advertising 101.

This author prides himself on being one of the best at using sex to sell products, especially those that have no real attributes to talk about. This novel delves into his Tab soft drink campaign and how he used a very attractive young woman clad only in a bikini walking out of the ocean drinking from a can of Tab as the ocean water dribbled down her body. A lot of people dribbled over that commercial and their dribble turned it into the highest recall scoring commercial of all time. And, in turn, made Tab the third largest selling soft drink. Not bad for a product that tasted like turpentine.

And do you really believe that using Fabio to sell fake butter doesn’t work? Come on, women buy it off the selves almost hoping that when they get home and pop the top open that he’ll magically appear and smear that shit all over their naked bodies.

Your Sony clock radio introduces you to a new day, Why Sony? You grab your trusted bar of Ivory Soap. Why Ivory? Because it floats? Oh, and don’t forget to bring your Head & Shoulders into the shower with you. Why, because it’s blue, and blue products always work? ‘Brush-a-brush’ your teeth with Crest, remember to gargle ‘All those germs away’ for at least thirty seconds with Listerine while you slip into your Calvin Klein underwear, you know the same ones that Kate Moss wears. Hey, if you put on a Victoria’s Secret bra you’ll look just like Heidi. Slip into the shoes you bought at DSW and you’ll suddenly have great dancing legs.

Swallow ‘That last drop of Maxwell House coffee’ as you speed off to work in your brand new, hunter green BMW. Why hunter green? Well, that would be because someone on Madison Avenue convinced you that hunter green is the ‘new in color’ according to RL.

One last thing, if you will. Why the BMW? Because you know that all the while you bumper-to-bumper your way to work you’ll constantly be bitching to yourself that this car cost you more than your first house.

Why do you buy all of these products? Because you need them?

No, no, no, it’s because someone on Madison Avenue convinced you that you couldn’t live without them. And they convince you of that every ten minutes of every day, 365 days a year by interrupting your life with their little 30-second messages.

And this is how it happens in one fine career on Madison Avenue. It was and still is all true, the only thing that’s changed is you, the consumer. You’ve gotten smarter. So those insignificant few Machiavellian craftsmen will have to work much harder to separate you from your money. And trust me they will, and they’ll continue to be "Everywhere that you want to be.’ And trust me I know they will because I’m one of them, and I am one of the best of them.

Oh, one last thing. Did you remember to spray yourself this morning with Axe Body Spray? You do want all those women out there to notice you, don’t you? And ladies, remember to drop the KY Jelly in your purse, you just might get lucky tonight.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This book is the sole responsibility of the author but as in any concept, there are always those who have stepped in along the journey to either tutor, correct grammar, make a suggestion or two on how a scene could be improved with some additional writing, thoughts on how the book jacket should look, to even consulting with a tattoo artist about the type design.

To my tutor, Brandon Tartikoff. To my grammar coaches and script advisors, Lisa Ronell, Leah Nosnik, Kerry McCashin, and Dennis Felicio. To my trusted designer buddy, Vincent D’Onofrio. And to Budda, my tattoo genius. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

To my beautiful much younger wife of twelve years and still sizzling, Patricia, yes she’s Irish, yes she’s an account executive turned client, yes she knew all too well my sordid history before she took my hand in marriage, and yes she does know how to control this Italian boy from New Jersey. And she does it with a lot of tender loving care, much understanding, a ‘big’ stick, and some help from my two daughters, Audra and Nicole.

To view the TV commercials mentioned in this novel please go to: www.sexsellsbook.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

Acknowledgements

Scene One: Take One

Scene Two: Take One

Scene Two: Take Two

Scene Two: Take Three

Scene Two: Take Four

Scene Two: Take Five

Scene Two: Take Six

Scene Two: Take Seven

Scene Three: Take One

Scene Three: Take Two

Scene Three: Take Three

Scene Three: Take Four

Scene Four: Take One

Scene Four: Take Two

Scene Four: Take Three

Scene Five: Take One

Scene Five: Take Two

Scene Five: Take Three

Scene Five: Take Four

Scene Six: Take One

Scene Six: Take Two

Scene Six: Take Three

Scene Seven: Take One

Scene Seven: Take Two

Scene Seven: Take Three

Scene Eight: Take One

Scene Eight: Take Two

Scene Eight: Take Three

Scene Eight: Take Four

Scene Eight: Take Five

Scene Nine: Take One

Scene Nine: Take Two

Scene Nine: Take Three

Scene Nine: Take Four

Scene Nine: Take Five

Scene Nine: Take Six

Scene Nine: Take Seven

Scene Ten: Take One

Scene Ten: Take Two

Scene Eleven: Take One

Scene Eleven: Take Two

Scene Eleven: Take Three

Scene Twelve: Take One

Scene Twelve: Take Two

Scene Twelve: Take Three

Scene Twelve: Take Four

Scene Twelve: Take Five

Scene Twelve: Take Six

Scene Twelve: Take Seven

Scene Twelve: Take Eight

Scene Twelve: Take Nine

Scene Twelve: Take Ten

Scene Thirteen: Take One

Scene Thirteen: Take Two

Scene Thirteen: Take Three

Scene Thirteen: Take Four

Scene Thirteen: Take Five

Scene Thirteen: Take Six

Scene Thirteen: Take Seven

Scene Thirteen: Take Eight

Scene Fourteen: Take One

Scene Fourteen: Take Two

Scene Fourteen: Take Three

Scene Fourteen: Take Four

Scene Fourteen: Take Five

Scene Fourteen: Take Six

Scene Fourteen: Take Seven

Scene Fourteen: Take Eight

Scene Fourteen: Take Nine

Scene Fourteen: Take Ten

Scene Fifteen: Take One

Scene Fifteen: Take Two

Scene Fifteen: Take Three

Scene Sixteen: Take One

Scene Sixteen: Take Two

Scene Sixteen: Take Three

"Cut!! Cut!! Cut!! What the fuck is going on here? Hey kid, what the fuck is your problem? Will someone tell me please what the fuck this kid’s problem is? He’s supposed to be a fucking actor isn’t he? Well, isn’t he?" N. Lee jumps out of his director’s chair and strolls over to the script timer, who is so terrified at his approach that she tries to become one with the tunnel wall. N. Lee rips the script out of her hands, thumbs through her script notes, 128 takes on the master and your notes are telling me that not one fucking take is good! He spins around stopping only when his eyes lock onto Paul’s eyes, Well, Mr. Fucking Genius, what the fuck do you want to do now? This is all on your fuckin’ meter darling.

Paul stands up checking his watch. The answer is not to be found on the face of your watch unless of course you want to call a wrap and put an end to this insanity. Paul wipes N. Lee’s spit from his face, his answer is toiling hard to escape from the depths of his throat, It’s just past midnight according to my watch, and I don’t intend to leave this fucking stadium without a spot, or was your head parked up your ass earlier today when my boss called me from Detroit to inform me that if this isn’t the greatest spot he’s ever seen I better not come back. Or maybe you were too busy trying to figure out what your fucking problem is with the lighting in this tunnel. Whatever, I don’t get a commercial, and you don’t get paid. Are we understanding each other now?

N. Lee lunges at Paul, but only succeeds in being introduced to the tunnel pavement for his efforts. Paul drops back and readies himself as N. Lee springs to his feet. If looks could kill they both would have suffered a terrible death. Well bubba, you chose this fucking kid so you tell me what we should do now. Because you’re only getting one spot, one 30 or one 60, not both.

Paul leans in real close and personal, You’re contracted to deliver one 30-second spot and one 60-second spot, so if you’re looking to get paid you had fucking well better figure out a way to deliver both.

You’re not listening to me, bubba. You’re not getting two spots so what is it about NO that you’re not understanding?

I’ll settle for the 60, I can always lift the 30 from it.

Mr. Ruggero, sorry to interrupt but the kid’s agent is demanding to talk to you now.

Oh, he is now, is he?

Paul slowly backs off, his eyes glued hard on N. Lee’s molten red face, and moves towards the head of the tunnel where the 800-pound ape, stuffed into a dark blue bankers suit, awaits. Sweat pouring from every pore of his body. His face, now there lies the story of his life, dark blue veins transverse from one cheek to the other across his nose. His skin is the color of crimson, obviously the result of too many years and too, too many visits to the bottle. Paul starts to climb over the stands, but staggers momentarily, repulsed by the man’s breath, bourbon, straight, no water, and probably straight from the bottle.

Barry, what’s so urgent?

Listen Paul, need I remind you of the SAG rulings when it comes to treating talent properly?

Paul smirks and looks down at the concrete steps, shakes his head, then returns his stare straight into Barry’s eyes, sending Barry dancing back on his heels, and almost falling off of the steps. "Barry, maybe if you weren’t lost somewhere in that never-never land in that bottle of yours you might have just noticed that it is your so-called actor who’s sending me to my grave with triple golden time. One hundred twenty eight takes Barry, are you with me? One hundred twenty eight takes and we still don’t have a useable master shot!" Paul slaps his hand down on Barry’s shoulder driving him down slightly, I’m not abusing an actor because there is no actor out there to abuse. And I swear on my mother’s soul, Barry, that if I don’t get the greatest fucking commercial out of this shoot that that little bastard will never act again. And you will get to pay the client back for this entire shoot. Do we understand each other here, now, I’m going back down there and I’m going to make this commercial work, and you know what you’re going to do Barry, right? You’re going back down there and you’re going to have a nice little ‘Come to Jesus’ talk with that so-called actor of yours. Okay, do we both understand each other now?

Barry musters up a limp nod, and slowly, ever so slowly, navigates his way back down the stands.

And Barry, do me one small favor, stay out of my sight until two days after this shoot is over. You and I both know that this kid is no actor.

Paul drops his head, looks down at the stands, smirks, then locks his eyes on Barry’s face.

You know something else Barry.

No, but I’m sure that I’m about to find out.

Paul cuts a tiny smile, Yes you are. Yes you are. When I came to this shoot I was terrified that Joe Greene wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Boy, was I wrong, he ends up being the real actor here, Barry. I even had to drag him into the tunnel to help your actor deliver his lines. Paul shakes his head, You know Barry, if I were you I would sign Joe Greene up before I left here. And then you’d have a real actor to rep.

Paul makes his way back towards the camera and all of the high-volume action whirling around the set. Not two feet into his return his assistant producer, Karen, grabs his arm, pulls him to the side, and informs him that his so-called partner has split, Kelly left the set. Paul’s eyes go from Karen’s eyes to the concrete floor of the tunnel, back up to the ceiling, then back to meet her now full-orbed eyes rimmed with an almost uncontrollable anger about to explode. Paul, she fucking ran out on us, she fucking shit in her pants and took off. The bitch chicken-shitted out on us!!!

Paul raps his arm around Karen and prods her forward, Well darlin’ I guess we’ve just tripped into that clusterfucking shit storm that my Gunny always bitched about. Now we’ll see if I’m as good as I always say I am.

Paul delicately navigates his way through the security wall created by three of N. Lee’s apes and drops into the chair next to his high-priced director. With an extremely exaggerated huff the two-foot, four-inch Napoleon rises indignantly from his perch, dragging his chair with him, to which Paul rises up in kind, and pursues him across the tunnel floor dragging his own chair along. Paul whips his chair around, slamming it into the side of Lee’s chair, pinning Lee’s forearm to the armrest. Paul drops into his chair and goes nose-to-nose with the finely sculptured nose of his emperor. The rims of N. Lee’s eyes pool with tears, bright red veins begin to explode around his pupils, his mouth widens, his throat quivers followed by an almost hellish, not from this earth, grunt, Your chair arm is crushing my arm.

Suddenly Paul’s chair, with him on board, is elevated upwards, heading non-stop for the tunnel ceiling, but inches from his head being introduced to the ceiling he’s jerked to safety, falling back down into JC’s arms, This is not the time for all of this bullshit. We need to get this spot on film, or we’ll all be hung. Okay, so calm down and let’s roll camera. Are we calm? Yes, I’m good. JC readjusts his head to make direct eye contact with Paul, I repeat, are we good?

Paul nods yes, and is released from his executive producer’s bear-hold, and escorted to his chair where Karen pokes him with the script, You need to rewrite the end scene, it’s not working. Paul stares at Karen as she and JC move him away from N. Lee towards an unpopulated corner of the tunnel. The dynamic trio hunkers down, with script in hand, and begins the task of rewriting the ending. Forget that it’s only about 12:30 at night with the entire film crew, actors, and stadium staff hanging all over them.

The sound that now emanates from this crowd of hostiles fast begins to fill the entire tunnel and resembles the low pitch of a high-speed turbo engine slowly climbing to full-up max.

JC, in his most wonderful French way, elbows Paul’s arm, puts his hands together, almost prayer-like, nods his head up and down and whispers, Let him throw his football jersey to the kid as a thank you for the soda Paul raises his head from the script, visuals of the scene JC has just suggested racing past his eyes like film already shot, That’s great, Claude, you’re a genius.

Paul cranks out the new ending and struts over to N. Lee, We’ve written a new ending that’s brilliant. Here. He hands him the script. N. Lee grabs the script, glances down at it then returns his eyes to the trio, So this is the McCann-Erickson brain trust that’s come to save the day is it? Two producers and one award-winning art director, wonderful, just fucking wonderful. His eyes drift back and forth from Paul to JC to Karen, So tell me guys, where’s the blond? You know the writer? He starts to pound the script with his index finger. She’s supposed to be the writer on this, isn’t she? He twists his body around in his seat looking down the tunnel Well, where is she?

Karen forces her way in front of Paul and goes head on with N. Lee, She split, you know like gone. Paul cuts her off, She left during the lunch break.

N. Lee swaggers his head and places his hand over his heart, I’m so totally crushed, so you’re telling me that she left without even so much as a goodbye?

Karen cuts back in, Well, aren’t you the clever one. Yeah she ran out right after Paul told us about his phone call with Charlie.

"Enough of this fucking bullshit! We’ve got a commercial to finish."

Well let’s just hope and pray that you’re half as good as your reputation claims you are. JC collars Paul, slams his hand over Paul’s mouth, and proceeds to drag him away cursing in French, Just shut your fucking mouth and let’s get this commercial finished before it costs you the soul of your first daughter.

The soul of my daughter? What the fuck does that mean? And for your information you almost broke my jaw.

Hey genius, we’ve got a problem for camera here. N. Lee leans away from the camera lens motioning for Paul to look at the scene through the camera. Paul leans in, pressing his eye against the eye pad on the camera eyepiece. N. Lee pops into the scene placing himself midway between the kid and football player, See what I’m talking about, I can’t pull focus on both the kid and the bottle of soda, so you have to tell me which thing I’m supposed to focus on. The kid or the bottle, or the bottle or the kid, you can’t have both, so which one do I focus on?

Paul pulls away from the eyepiece, motions towards the camera seat, Focus on the kid, his reaction is extremely important to the concept, besides everybody knows what a bottle of Coke looks like anyway.

N. Lee smirks, shrugs his head and remounts the camera seat, "You sure you