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Bill and Gil Do a Stare Down

Gil, the gruff, take-no-prisoners occupant of McGraw-Hill's classic 1958 "Man in the Chair" ad, is one of the most daunting visages ever to stare out of the pages of business magazines. With a powerful message about the value of investing in market familiarity (McGraw-Hill thought the investment should be in print advertising), this ad, in my opinion, is one of the best advertisements—certainly one of the best business-to-business advertisements—ever produced. With McGraw-Hill's permission, Gil now stares out over our lunchroom and, here, at agency media director Bill Hebel, often creeping out some of our younger people (but not Bill, who holds his own with Gil) until they learn that he actually was the creative director of the agency that produced the ad. Yes, as on AMC's "Mad Men" TV series, creative directors and ad men of this era stood out in suits...but with creative touches like their bow ties. If you ever need a pdf of just the ad, email me. McGraw-Hill updated this ad several years ago with a less gruff-looking white male and an Asian female, but the remakes just didn't pack the same punch.

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Taken on October 22, 2004