Friday, March 11, 2011

True stories of a real Mad Man: Executive level masturbation.

True Stories of a real Mad Man:  Executive level masturbation.©Joel Baumwoll

Grey Advertising is well known for its prowess in market research.  Many leading lights in the research profession cut their teeth there.  It was this reputation that drew me there early in my career. 
In the mid-1960s, the research department was famous for popularizing one type of survey technique called "market segmentation."  These were enormously complex and very expensive surveys, employing highly sophisticated statistical formulas that could be conducted only by computers, which were then just coming into their own as business tools. 

Such a study was commissioned for Foamy Shave Cream by Gillette Toiletries Company, a new client.  Top management eagerly awaited the results.  After eight months of work, the project was completed and the agency team was dispatched to present the findings to the President of the company. 

We assembled in a small conference room and waited for the top man to arrive.  Pre-presentation adrenaline was surging through our blood.  The energy level was high.  We were, as they say, "pumped up" and ready to go.

Thirty minutes past the appointed time, his assistant came in and informed us that Mr. Schultz was detained in another meeting and would not be here for at least another hour.  

Everyone struggled to maintain their focus and searched for something to talk about for the next sixty minutes.  Suddenly my boss asked rather curiously, "Do you think there are more orgasms in a year from masturbation or intercourse?"

The researchers immediately dug in to solve this pungent question.  The challenge of figuring out the answer using our powers of deductive reasoning was irresistible.  Not to mention we were bored out of our minds with waiting.

"Males, 13-17 probably masturbate three or four times a day," we theorized,  "and there are twelve million of them, so we need to multiply twelve million by four....” Our brains worked feverishly in excited collaboration, shouting out facts and hypotheses.  

The blackboard quickly filled with numbers, graphs and calculations.  Soon it looked like a classroom in quantum physics.

In the thick of our deliberations, the door flew open and Ed Schultz, all six foot five of him, strode into the room.  A fast study, he glanced around at the scene that greeted him and said "Sorry I'm so late.  But I see you've made good use of the time to work on our business problems.  I'll sit here while you finish and then you can tell me what you've discovered."

We immediately launched into our presentation of the Foamy study.

No one ever told him the real conclusion we had reached.

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