HARD SELL by Charles Rubin


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As pathetic Bob Bronson (creator of the ""Moist look"") cutely tells it, advertising is hell on trainer wheels--incompetence, neuroses, skullduggery--but he's hanging in there, holding on to his 28th job in thirteen years: copy chief at Ash, Ayler, Ballard/Boston. His new mentor John Quentin (creator of ""Go Soak Your Head with Volmar's Shampoo"") doesn't seem to mind that Bob lost his last job by watering (organically) a rude client's plant or that Bob doesn't get along with the fuddy-duddy ""Boston schmucks""--just as long as he comes up with dynamite ideas for selling Biggah's Frozen Dinners. But Bob worries about his so-so therapy with forgetful Dr. Perlberg, about his kinky hook-up (french toast and all that) with copywriter Julie (who may be the one who, lovingly, tried to hit-and-run Bob's agency rival), and about erotic undertones in his conferences with boss Quentin. All this is reasonably, wispily entertaining, but when things move into implausibly higher gears--crazy-jealous Julie murders Dr. Perlberg, reborn wife Allie says ""I've got to identify this person I've become,"" piggy cops search the agency for pot and bust heads--Rubin starts taking Bob too seriously and loses control of the comic tone. This is a monumental miscalculation, but it surfaces late enough so that the authentic and mildly amusing grotesquerie of ad-persons at work can--like their product--be tuned in and then swiftly tuned out.

Pub Date: June 7th, 1977
Publisher: Crown