Friday, October 05, 2018
I've known him for 20 years. He is a leader in the advertising industry in the US and in the UK, and practically invented the idea of 'account planning' which is the search for consumer insights that lead to better brand messages. That probably won't mean much to my lovely blog readers, but this is how he changed advertising: instead of hearing ads with 'features and benefits' or 'unique selling propositions', Charlie took the time to talk to people and understand what their hopes and dreams were--not just surface feelings but really really deep feelings--and helped brands tell stories that people wanted to pay attention to, not turn off. It sometimes affected purchases, it sometimes didn't, but it made people not hate advertising so much.
He came to Oregon several times as our Ward Executive in Residence when basically he spent hours and hours and hours with students--encouraging them, reviewing their work--LISTENING to them because that is what he did best.
My favorite memory is that we met up in Milan for an advertising conference along with one of my students, Emily. We gave several presentations that were just FUN and then Charlie took us to some 'real' Milanese restaurants where we ate boar and things that I'd never eat except Charlie said we REALLY should---and the end of the day always ended with gelato.
We just finished the manuscript for a book, and it was so much fun to work with him. I'm glad we finished it and that the book will be part of his legacy.
Anyway, thanks for reading this far and learning a bit more about this remarkable man. I can't believe he's gone. Rest in gentle peace, friend.