Cutty Sark had been thrashing about for a creative breakthrough and were considering whether they should scuttle Cutty’s famous logo of a tall sailing ship. My answer (and slogan): Don’t give up the ship! That call to non-action became one of the best-known and talked about campaigns in the booze business, and Cutty’s sailing ship sailed profitably into the sunset. Each of the color magazine spreads and dozens of small-space newspaper ads had its own salty headline. For New York magazine: I gave up my favorite restaurant because Gael Greene said to, but...I won’t give up the ship!


For magazines in Chicago: If you hate Picasso and you work at the Civic Center...Don’t give up the ship! Posters for New York subways: If you’ve had it up to here with graffiti...Don’t give up the ship! And almost daily, I created newspaper ads that reacted to the news of the day. For instance...the morning after Bobby Riggs humiliated Margaret Court Smith in their $50,000 winner-take-all tennis match, I served up this ad in papers all over America. Less than a year later, the ad proved prophetic when Billie Jean King ran Riggs ragged, and became an heroic and iconic symbol of the feminist movement.


Some of the highlight lyrics

in the Cutty Sark Sales film are:


Who needs a scotch that seems degraded,

Black and White is overrated...


Folks who sing to 100 Pipers

guaranteed to wet their diapers...


Who are all those weirdo creatures

sucking up a scotch like Teacher's...


Here's to Cutty, raise your glasses,

up those big White Horses asses...


J + B can get you plastered,

go and ask any drunken bastard...


Girls who keep on drinking Dewars,

always end up rotten screwer's...


Folks who drink that Johnny Walker,

must be off their fucking rocker


Every sip and man you'll love it,

tell the folks at Chivas shove it.


Don't give up the ship!


A scene from my infamous 1973 sales film (more than a year before Watergate!) that introduced Cutty Sark’s campaign, Don’t give up the ship, to whiskey distributors. (After spoofing FDR, Hirohito, the Duke of Windsor, Mae West, Truman Capote, Ralph Branca & Bobby Thompson, Neville Chamberlain, Christine Jorgensen, and other august types, it was the president’s turn.) The Nixon look-alike was Richard Dixon (I swear that was his name). This outrageous scene of our president, alone at night in the Oval Office, getting soused (with long intervals of sipping Cutty Sark between his spiel), fractured the whiskey crowd. At the second showing, the FBI actually swiped the film!


New York Jets superstar Joe Namath was renowned as a heavy Johnny Walker Scotch drinker during his playing days (double entendre intended). We were pals, so I enlisted him to appear in another scene in my notorious Cutty sales film. When the booze trade saw Namath hustling for Cutty Sark, a hated competitor of Johnny Walker, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Hugging the monumental bottle of Cutty, Joe said, Y’know why I’m switching to Cutty Sark? Because their bottles are bigger!