Many ‘Captains of industry’ have committed their innermost thoughts to books after they have retired. Many of these books are insightful, and educational, but generally speaking they are dry and boring, unless you have a specific interest in their company or industry. Allen Rosenshine is the exception to this rule, this guy could easily climb up on the stage of your local ‘Improv’ and do a 20 minute stand alone comedy routine. OK, so who is Allen Rosenshine? He is not someone that you would likely know unless you are in the advertising business, but as the head man at BBDO and later Omnicon, this was the man in charge of the worlds most influential advertising agency.

Allen has produced a book of 2-3 page vignettes, some are rueful and thought provoking, but the vast majority are just downright gut busting funny. It is hard to pick my favorites, they are all my favorites. Allen is not shy about sharing his most embarrassing moments, and he has plenty of them.

Although he was not personally responsible, it was his organization that set Michael Jackson’s hair on fire while making an advert for Pepsico! That in itself is worthy of a book, the big fight though was not over the ‘how’ the accident happened, it was over the who ‘owned’ the video of the accident. The news agencies were like rabid dogs to air it.

His description of doing an ad with Mohammad Ali is equally funny. I’d share the joke with you, but I think it is better that you discover this one for yourself. I will guarantee that even though the language involved may be a little raunchy, you will be rolling on the floor laughing.

Other great stories involve Allen’s long suffering wife Missy, who I am sure has berated him often over their many years of being together, and especially now that this book is published. I suspect that Missy has disowned him!

While this book is wonderfully funny, hidden inside the funny stories are some true words of wisdom. The Ad Game is a serious business, and we catch glimpses of frustration at clients who turn down well thought out campaigns. As Allen Rosenshine correctly points out, if you pay a lawyer or an accountant to provide guidance, unless you are very silly you follow the advice. If you go to the doctor and he tells you that you are allergic to nuts, you would be insane to eat nuts. The Ad Game though is different; years of experience get merrily tossed out of the window because a client does not like a jingle, or slogan. And generally speaking an ad campaign is very much akin to a ‘war campaign’ there are many aspects coming together in synchronicity.

I give Funny Business very high marks for it’s very funny, and very candid look at a world most of us can hardly imagine being involved in. You can obtain a copy through Amazon.

Simon Barrett


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