Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Jan Cederquist, we miss you.
In Memory of Jan Cederquist who passed away July 7.
I'm really sorry I post this so late,
but I simply didn't know how to express myself.
Jan was one of the foremost copywriters in Sweden.
Perhaps the best copywriter who's ever worked in the industry.
He didn't so much sell as he made people want to buy.
(I stole that line from an insert in Campaign.)
I've had the pleasure to work with him.
As an art director.
First he agreed to write an add in a series for Linotype typography I devised.
(Other writers of the campaign included giants such David Abbott, David Metcalf, Lasse Collin...)
Eventually I got to work with him at Hall & Cederquist.
Which was arguably the best agency in Sweden.
Hall, Stjernholm and Skogh were the other three oringal members of the agency.
Aside from that it was populated by many other stars.
Jan attracted giants. He made them grow even higher.
How the heck I qualified still puzzles me.
I will for ever be grateful for the moments
I worked with Jan,
and for all the time I stole from him just hear him talk.
I probably talked too much myself.
Just to see what the response would be.
He was truly generous with everything.
He's also partly responsible for my interest in photography.
He sponsored the first Hasselblad camera
I ever had the opportunity to use.
Now, Jan was not just a copywriter.
He was way more. He was a philosopher.
And he wrote real books.
A fervent enemy of ridiculous bureaucracy.
I totally symphatized with everything he stood for.
I also discovered that advertising could be so much more than hard sell
when reading the book "Ord till Salu" (Words for Sale"),
in which he had written a very important chapter.
I remember the firs time I met him.
I went to his agench to apply for a job I think.
Or maybe just to try to talk myself into one.
I was shown into his office.
He was on the phone but gestured me
to sit down nevertheless.
It was apparently from a potential client,
or maybe even an existing client wanting to change some ad?
In his warm, calm voice,
he simply declared that the agency didn't do "that sort of advertising",
but there would certainly be many others out there who would gladly do it.
I knew then that I absolutely had to work there.
He didn't want to see my work.
He referred it to Lars Hall, his art director partner.
That was Jan. He left air to breath for everyone.
Actually, I think he created oxygen for all of us.
These flowers are for you.
an advertising agency
in New York City.