Howard Bragman on His Early Days in Advertising
Bragman: I ended up moving to Chicago and I was interviewed with ad agencies and they said, “Were you the suit or are you the [creator]?” And these were the heydays, the madmen years in advertising. And I said, “Well, I can do both.” I had worked in a small ad agency in Ann Harbor and I said, “I met with clients; I wrote ads; I designed ads. I can do it all.” They’re like, “No, you can’t. Not in a big agency. You have to choose.” Well, I ended up getting a job with a magazine, this little society magazine in Chicago. It was a pretty horrible magazine, but it was a good experience, because it was a tiny magazine and I got to do everything. From lay out the magazine to write stories, assign and edit stories. And after about a year, they wanted to close the magazine. They were losing their shirts and they said, “We’re going to close the magazine. What are you going to do?” And I said, “I’m going to go into PR.” All these people pitched me stories, they’ve never read the magazine. There’s got to be some confidence out there in this world. So I got a job with a little PR [firm] in Chicago and, fortunately, they signed Anheuser-Busch or Budweiser, it’s a client right after I got there. And I spent three years really getting an MBA in PR on Anheuser-Busch’s [dime] because they’re a great company. A lot of different brands, a lot of different celebrities, and I learned how to do just about everything. And after my 3rd year at the Rice Lake Snowmobile Races, when it was 25 degrees below zero in Wisconsin, I said, “Okay, I’ve learned what I’m learning here,” and I wanted a bigger arena, and I went to work for Burson-Marsteller, the international PR firm. And I was there about three years in Chicago. And one cold November day, more than 20 years ago, they said, “Would you like to move to LA?” And I said, “Oh, yeah. I’m out of here.” And Burson-Marsteller is a great company, but LA is a very entrepreneurial market. It’s a very relationship market. It’s not like people will go, “Oh, you work for Burson-Marsteller….” For the most part, they didn’t even know who Burson-Marsteller was necessarily. So in ‘89, I started my own firm in the back of my house and I grew that to a company called Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, which today is the largest entertainment PR firm in the world. I sold the company in 2001, took some time off. And in 2005, I started my current company, Fifteen Minutes, which does a lot of things my other company does, but in a very boutique format. I have two offices, about 20 people, and we represent celebrities, corporations, the business of Hollywood, a lot of crises, a lot of media training, a very eclectic mix of clients. In that time, I taught PR for six years at USC, so I learned… everybody always said PR is too esoteric. It’s hard to teach. Well, I had to learn that discipline. I had to learn how to explain what I do this esoteric thing. And in the course of that, it really made me want to write a book, and that was the germ of “Where’s My Fifteen Minutes?”
Howard Bragman was indeed capable of doing it all at a Chicago ad firm.
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Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
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