Donny and Mike
: The self-referential media world is buzzing about Michael Wolff, New York Magazine media columnist and pet bulldog, joining up with ad bad boy Donny Deutsch to try to buy the publication.
I’d die to attend their staff meetings.
I ran into Donny during the launch of Entertainment Weekly, when he and his agency handled our trade advertising. There were the usual agency pitch meetings (in the days before PowerPoint and Flash) with a small platoon of adheads and presentation boards aplenty.
Then came Donny. He interrupted the proceedings to shout about the magazine: “This is the best f’ing idea I’ve ever heard…. This is f’ing great.” He f’ed his way into the contract. I still have buttons, cocktail napkins, posters and more with the slogan he created. (Time Inc. got my magazine. I got souvenirs. Maybe I should sell them on eBay.)
About that time, he got the Ikea business and as we sat in my office, I pointed to something I’d gotten there and then proceeded to admit that I was so impressed with Ikea’s worldview that I ended up going to Sweden on vacation and I named — with the silly names — all the cheap furniture I’d just bought from Ikea for my new house. I was an Ikea stalker. I thought Donny should be impressed. Instead, he shook his head and said, “You are seriously f’ing disturbed!”
Donny — like Michael — has always rubbed some people the wrong way, but I liked him and his bluntness. And he has proven to be a marketing genius. Can he be a media genius? Maybe. Last year at the FourSquare conference (where he and Wolff shared the stage), he said that advertising has to invent new forms to be discovered. He bragged about making musical stars with his car commercials; he was jealous of BMW’s online car movies.
Whether it’s New York or not, it would be fun to watch Deutsch — even more than Wolff — run a media enterprise. He’d surely find new ways to market the product to readers and advertisers and he’d find new ways for them to market inside the product. It’d be f’ing entertaining.