By Richard Kirshenbaum
Many years ago, after working for the legendary adman Donny Deutsch, I went into business with my partner Jon and we wanted to start our own agency. One weekend I picked up a copy of Jerry Della Femina’s now-iconic book “From the Guys Who Brought You Pearl Harbor” and something in the book caught my eye!
At the end of one of the chapters Jerry wrote that when he was going INTO business he almost went OUT of business, and as a last resort decided to throw a party. The result: he picked up a few clients and not only stayed in business, but became an ad legend!
Once our small agency had enough produced work to display, we actually “bartered” a party with one of our restaurant clients and threw a “first annual KBP” party and try to do a “Jerry.”
I remember sitting and thinking of well-known and important people to invite to the party that I did not know. I remember thinking “why not invite them?” Even if they don’t come they might remember our name.”We also invited reporters and photographers and put big blow-ups of our ad agencies work around the restaurant so people could get a real feel for our work.
After much fretting about who was coming and packing the place with friends and relatives (an empty party is for losers) the night of the party arrived and I nervously paced the restaurant hoping some of our guests on our wish list would show up.
Two hours later, the party was packed and the people kept coming.
Word had leaked out that this new, hip agency was offering free food and booze (yay barter) and the modeling agency I invited had their gorgeous girls show up in hopes of landing a contract.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw an industry reporter chatting with a supermodel, the Chief Marketing Officer of a well-known brand scarfing down a mini pizza and industry powerhouses Donny Deutsch and Jerry Della Femina popped by to both support and anoint us (it always pays to have great mentor).