I would have written this witout the bribe. Maybe.
If nothing else, “Last Stop Before the Sphincter” will prove to even the most skeptical among the fast-thinning ranks of people who actually give a crap about advertising that Jeff Gorman has to rank as one of the most inventJive, effective and inspired commercials directors of both this century and the last. Read this book with a particular eye on the spots he includes: What you will discover is that they simply do not make, breed, construct, clone, mutate, distill, or otherwise artificially inseminate ‘em like Gorman any more. More’s the pity, because this book shines a bright and unforgiving light on how much standards have been shredded and how hard we’re all going to have to struggle to get even close to previous conceptual levels—doubly challenging in a world where one-off social stunts command just as much industry respect as yesterday’s multi-year, multi-hit brand smash. The good news: With considerable style and verve—and more than a few industry classics (who knew that “ONDC” meant “On Location Doesn’t Count”), Gorman provides a master’s class in how to think about creative, what separates conceptual wheat from chaff, ditto ideas from excuses, and the essential nature of craft in turning the evanescent glimmer of creative potential into executional genius. The result: even those of us without Sir Martin’s bloated paycheck have at least three 3 irrefutable reasons to deposit our paltry few remaining salary sheckles in this book. First, there is the richly biting wit, delivered with the same fish-eye deadpan that comes with the man himself. Second, there’s the lovely story telling that might be unexpected in a writer mostly known for short-form gems. And last and lowest, if not least, there’s the chance to consider the larger role Gorman’s sphincter played in his prolific career. Who’d ever pass up an opportunity like that? - Jef Loeb, executive creative director/writer/director, Brainchild Creative
Former ad agency guy, currently marketing guy at California State University, Northridge
By Michael Niles
Without question, "Last Stop Before the Sphincter" is the funniest book on the advertising business that I've ever read. It's also the most realistic and insightful. From Jeff's early days at a Kansas City agency through his time as a one-of-a-kind copywriter at Chiat/Day and on to his days of world domination as a commercial director, his incredible memory and razor-sharp wit took me screaming back to my years in the agency business. Hilarious and terrifying at the same time. The amazing highs as well as that old familiar pain. But it's all true. At least the part about our Pizza Hut boondoggle in Italy. For anyone who ever worked in the ad business, or is considering a career in advertising, or laughed at a funny TV spot, this book is a must-read. I'm smelling a big Netflix series coming up soon. Jeff Gorman's story puts Don Draper deep in the shade.
The ad industry post Madmen
Jeff Gorman had one of the best runs in advertising. If you didn’t know him and only knew his work, you’d think his experience was one pleasantry after another. This book is about how it wasn’t exactly that. It’s about how ludicrous the industry is through the voice of one of the funniest guys in the business. The phrase “you can’t make this stuff up!” is the underlying foundation of his stories. It’s laugh out loud funny. It picks up in history where Madmen leaves off—except much funnier.
This ain’t no McMann and Tate!
That was the title of the ad agency in Bewitched. But the magic on the real stages and locations wasn’t done with the twitch of a nose, HELL no! If it were that easy you’d only need Jeff Gorman - WARLOCK.
But it takes a large crew of like minded people with imagination and skills beyond assembly line widget builders. But most of all you need a leader with vision, trailing his immediate associates who can overcome their gut terror, figuring out how to defy physics and then stuffing 10 pounds of shots in a half pound, edited down finish product without spilling any of the good stuff on their shoes. That’s what this book is all about. It’s about the beginnings of the idea to the execution. How to make an audience pay attention for 30 seconds without pausing - making the sale on your TV.
If you ever wondered what went into making a commercial, this is your bible!
It always looks easy for that 30 seconds, but you’d NEVER EVER guess just how much time, grey matter, work and sometimes agony went into making you pay attention for that mere 30 seconds.
Jeff Gorman has written a perfect book to show just how much goes into the making of a good spot. The book is peppered with some great commercials that hopefully you’ll remember. If not, most of them will make you laugh anyway. They were made during the golden age of advertising.
The book also has a lot of personal ‘on set’ photos that brings a personal touch to this experience. SIT BACK, READ AND ENJOY!
A blitzkrieg of sarcasm
This is one funny book. A collection of insightful stories from a writer and director who did landmark work for decades. I highly recommend this for anyone in this silly business or contemplating getting into it. You may think twice. Or you just might see behind all the verbal malice is a passionate and sweet guy who is incredibly talented. Good stuff.
A funny, entertaining and interesting look at TV advertising
By Mark Androw
This book is a delightful, humurous and informative read about the inside world of a commercial director and advertising creative. And as a special bonus it contains clips from the author’s amazing body of commecial work. Gorman, names names and doesn’t hold anything back in describing the inside world of advertising. This book will appeal to both advertising professionals and anyone not in the industry who would like a glipse into Gorman’s unqiue world.
Freelance writer - Matt Vescovo
I'm happy to see that Jeff Gorman, the smart, funny, bitter and crotchety director, has used those same traits to write a very entertaining book.
Co-Founder Crispin, Porter+Bogusky
By Alex Bogusky
I don’t know when the golden age of advertising was but it isn’t now. For sure, Jeff Gorman was there for all the good stuff and Last Stop Before the Sphincter places him at the epicenter. I know people in the box now seem to lament the guts we used to have and I can’t think of anybody gutsier than Gorman as these stories clearly and hysterically make clear. Reading this book is like sitting at a shoot or a pre-pro with Jeff on the many occasions we shot together and re-hearing all the stories. Incredible! Reading the chapter titled “Alex and the Truth” I’m not shitting you that tears welled up when I read the things Gorman said about me. And yeah, some of those tears were from laughing out loud. Thanks, amigo, for this book and for all the help you’ve given me (and countless others) along the way.
Hurts so good
“Looking for pollyanna tales of the glamorous life in advertising? Look elsewhere. This is not for the faint hearted. Or for those of you who can’t handle the truth. This is a book about being in the trenches. Of resisting the urge to clobber stupid clients and corn hole even stupider colleagues. You want strategy, you want business acumen, you want the secret formula to successful advertising? Than you want something else. Jeff Gorman has seen everything. And done everything. And at over 800 pages in length, he hasn’t left out a single juicy detail. First there was Mad Men. Last Stop Before the Sphincter is about Madder Men.”
-Rich Siegel 44-year-old Copywriter, Humorist, Author
How Jeff Gorman remembered anything is a tribute to his memory and/or creativity
I have known Jeff Gorman since the mid-1970’s. We have been friends, accomplices in crime, occasional antagonists, business partners, and, most notably, accomplished kvetchers.
I was hoping that Jeff’s tome, "Last Stop Before the Sphincter" would be an unreadable compendium of self-serving and humorless anecdotal fabrications. Not because I wished Jeff any ill-will, mind you, but because I was thinking of myself; I really wanted to use a quote attributed to Dorothy Parker in her review of Ayn Rand’s "The Fountainhead:" “It is not a book to be lightly thrown aside. It should be thrown with great force.” (Incidentally, Ayn Rand’s "The Fountainhead", 753 pages; Jeff Gorman’s "Last Stop Before the Sphincter," 803 pages.)
Unfortunately, I will be unable to use Parker’s quote when commenting on Jeff Gorman’s illustrious and blithe look at the hell he willingly created for himself. Jeff recalls, in vivid detail, his career in the advertising and commercial film production business in a series of amusing and wryly written chapters. From his glory days at Chiat-Day to his award winning career at Johns+Gorman Films and JGF, Jeff lays out an uncompromising look at what it was like to be an advertising deity (despite relying upon an addled brain and a distorted sense of reality.) How he remembered anything is a tribute to his memory and/or creativity.
That said, “Sphincter" is a must read.
-Gary Johns, former art director Chiat/Day; partner, Johns+Gorman Films; current gadabout and occasional artist.