Insightful observations about Fred S Goldberg by influential creative advertising and business people. John Ferrell, Jim Noble, Floyd Miller, Tony Bennett, Rick Kurz, Rick Herrick.
Fred Goldberg is a force of nature. He is more driven—and more focused—than anyone I have met. He works harder, he works longer, he works smarter—than anyone else. He seeks—and passionately supports—breakthrough concepts on every project in which he is involved: every bit as much, in fact, as does the most gifted creative director. I have rarely seen an account manager demonstrate the commitment Fred showed. Fred will walk through walls for his clients. They know this, and they appreciate it. They reward him with more assignments, more billings, and more accounts. Which is precisely the way Fred has built many successful advertising agencies. And why some clients’ loyalty is measured not in months or years, but in decades. Fred once told me that he had not missed a day of work in over 10 years. And he was proud of it. His work ethic is non-pareil! Fred is one of those rare people who day after day, quite literally, make their own luck.
Without sounding like too much of a brown nose I want to tell you that you have been the best boss I have ever had. Period. Ever since I came to Chiat/Day in 1987, I have felt like you were always looking out for me. Creatively. And financially. Especially when it came time to buy my first house. Anyway, I think we did some exceptional work while I was here and I’m sure it will continue long into the future at GMO. I will miss you. This place. And will always look back on it with a great deal of pride.
Fred has the passion, intelligence and creativity to change things. And the balls to put honesty before convenience. He is one of the best ad men I have had the honor of working with. One day when a senior account director whined to Fred about why she couldn’t do her job, Fred told her to stop complaining. She said, “Well, Fred, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” And without missing a beat, Fred said, “and sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced!” Classic Fred.
You know, I talk to people all the time. Ex GMO-ers. East coast folks. And one thing that always comes up is how great a place it was and how awesome the culture was. People always say to me that it was the best agency they ever worked for. And I have to say that I agree. It was a lot of work and hard work, but I always felt like I was valued and appreciated by you and Brian and I can’t tell you how rare that is. I had a great time while I was there and did some of the best work I have done in my career. It was truly a wonderful place to be. I’m sure people tell you this kind of thing all the time, but I thought you should hear it again.”
3M saw in Fred a person who would challenge them and stand up for the best creative rather than a middle of the road approach that might achieve consensus. He did great work for 3M but ultimately resigned the account because he didn’t want to have outstanding creative recommendations ruined by committees. In my mind this one incident caused me to always believe that I wanted Fred on my team whatever the endeavor.
Of all the MadMen I worked with, Fred Goldberg was the maddest of them all. Responsible for driving many legendary campaigns, he gives an entertaining account of his 30 years in the biz. Always opinionated and never boring, Fred played the game well, never forgot a friend or an adversary, and ended up with all the marbles.
© 2013 Fred S. Goldberg