03 March 2021

My advertising strategy killed Dr. Seuss

As a newly-minted account executive at Leo Burnett, in a meeting with our clients at Keebler, my copy strategy presentation for Quangles multigrain chips was built around the well-known Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham.  

The killer visual
This approach made sense at the time, because consumer research indicated that heavy snackers wouldn't love the idea of a multigrain chip. So we likened the challenge to Sam I Am convincing his target audience to eat Green Eggs and Ham.

Rather than write umpteen Power Point slides, most of my presentation was a dramatic reading of two or three passages from the book, and a single presentation board featuring the story's climactic moment. We passed around copies of the brief when I was done.

My boss at the time, Jeff Hiller, encouraged this approach and had me rehearse it a few times to maximize the effect. And what an effect it had.

We sold the strategy.

Then the next day, Dr. Seuss died.

Later that week, the client jokingly asked me not to feature him in future presentations.

I'm not sure if my advertising strategy killed Dr. Seuss, or if he's rolling in his grave this week, but he left a lasting legacy. Regardless of how you feel about Dr. Seuss Enterprises pulling six of his books, remember that his many other works - including Green Eggs and Ham - still have incredible value.


  1. Quangles were quite good, and so was your dramatic reading!

  2. And some years later, that death led to a great but whimsical legacy from his estate... Dartmouth's Theodore Geisl School of Medicine. Or, if you will, Dr. Seuss Med School.

    1. Yes. One condition of the gift was that students must refer to a thorax as "lorax."