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The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - AD­VER­TIS­ING N THIS rather dull, dig­i­tal and on­line world,

to women. “He groped sec­re­taries and grabbed clean­ing staff… She [the Palace som­me­lier] told him she didn’t think she liked be­ing grabbed be­tween the legs. Yeah you do, he said.”

Fra­cas­sus is a Nero for our times. Mon­strous. Larger than life. Ja­cob­son cap­tures him with some ex­cel­lent turns of phrase. “‘He has, Your High­ness,’ the physi­cian re­ported, ‘what I’d call Tourette’s, only with­out the Tourette’s.’”

How could such a per­son get elected as ruler? How could the peo­ple not see through the bul­ly­ing tweets and misog­yny? This brings us to the most in­ter­est­ing part of the novel. “With­out,” his mother says, “mean­ing to im­ply that the peo­ple are de­fi­cient in un­der­stand­ing…” Of course, Ja­cob­son is only too happy to im­ply just this.

Trump is a leader for our times, the prod­uct of a vul­gar, ill-ed­u­cated so­ci­ety. The Pro­logue is called The March of Ig­no­rance. The epi­graph is from Swift.

Another ruler tells Fra­cas­sus, that the peo­ple “love a fraud­ster. If some­one who wants the best for the peo­ple lets them down, they will never for­give him. But a joker who wants the worst for them they will fol­low into hell…”

As the book reaches its cli­max, Pro­fes­sor Pro­brius looks on in dis­may: “I did long ago pre­dict that those who tell the sto­ries run the world.”

“What sto­ries,” asks Dr. Cobalt. “He doesn’t have any­thing to tell.”

“My love, that is the story.”

And that is the moral of Howard Ja­cob­son’s dark tale.

David Her­man is the JC’s chief fic­tion re­viewer

IChutz­pah & Chutz­pah: Saatchi & Saatchi, the In­sid­ers’ Sto­ries by Richard My­ers, Si­mon Goode and Nick Darke (Michael O’Mara, £20), of­fers a vivid re­minder of the golden age of Bri­tish ad­ver­tis­ing, when the power of an idea — and the orig­i­nal­ity of its ex­pres­sion — could lit­er­ally trans­form a client’s busi­ness, with nary an al­go­rithm in sight.

When did three or four words have a greater ef­fect than “Labour Isn’t Work­ing”; Bri­tish Air­ways’ iconic slo­gan, “The World’s Favourite Air­line”; or the In­de­pen­dent’s “It is. Are you?” Un­til the ar­rival of Charles and Mau­rice, no ad­ver­tis­ing agency had made a greater im­pact on the con­scious­ness of the gen­eral pub­lic than Saatchi & Saatchi (where I worked from 1978 to 1990).

In fact, as this beau­ti­fully pro­duced book (to which I did not con­trib­ute) re­counts, so far had the fame of the agency spread that, in one year alone, 15 grad­u­ate trainee po­si­tions were ap­plied for by 4,000 peo­ple.

In some cases, 45 years old or more, these first-hand ac­counts of those who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi (not in­clud­ing me) may have been pol­ished a lit­tle in the re-telling, a fact ac­knowl­edged by the au­thors, but I can vouch, not only for the ve­rac­ity of many of these sto­ries, but for the bril­liance and tenac­ity of those who lived and breathed the agency’s cul­ture of “Noth­ing is Im­pos­si­ble”.

Lack­ing a lit­tle co­he­sion in struc­ture, Chutz­pah & Chutz­pah can read rather like a se­ries of anec­dotes hap­haz­ardly strung to­gether, but the sto­ries them­selves are so com­pelling and re­called here with such verve and hu­mour, that it would be the per­fect dip-in-and-out book, were it not such a com­pul­sive read. .

In the end, the agency’s ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess — and, I sup­pose, the even­tual hubris­tic im­plo­sion of its orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion — comes down to Charles and Mau­rice’s unique tal­ents (and chutz­pah), the in­tel­li­gence and dy­namism of its staff, and the sheer bril­liance of its creative work.

As the book points out, World prob­lems. World So­lu­tions. World Class was ac­tu­ally a line writ­ten by Saatchis for ICI, but it could eas­ily ap­ply to the agency and its work. The world of ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions will never see its like again. PETER SUCHET

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