Adman behind 'Joe Isuzu' quits agency he began Della Femina says 'fun' ended

June 21, 1992|By Newsday

NEW YORK -- Jerry Della Femina, the irreverent creative genius of such humorous ad campaigns as the lying "Joe Isuzu" and the singing Meow Mix cats, said Friday that he is looking to go to another ad agency after resigning from the one he has run for 25 years.

Mr. Della Femina, saying "it stopped being fun," announced that rTC he is quitting as chairman and chief executive of New York-based Della Femina McNamee at the end of this month after nearly two years of feuding with the Paris-based company that took it over in 1989.

That company, Euro RSCG, has agreed to pay him the remainder due under his contract, which is more than $2 million, a source familiar with the deal said. The contract was to have run through the end of 1995.

"I want to really go and do something where I can enjoy myself and write and concentrate on advertising instead of making war," Mr. Della Femina, 55, said, adding that he had not gotten an offer from another agency yet.

Mr. Della Femina -- who is known for his bald, goateed appearance, his outspokenness and his sometimes outrageous advertising style -- is is also known for his best-selling 1969 book about the ad industry, "From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor."

People familiar with the company dispute said that Mr. Della Femina was not given control over all of Euro RSCG's U.S. advertising operations as he had expected.

Mr. Della Femina had cut back his involvement with the agency in recent years and the agency has lost several clients, including American Isuzu Motors and Dow Chemical's Ziploc bags, whose ads featured a finger painted with a face. It has lost more than $150 million in billings and expects to bill $500 million this year.

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