I got the news yesterday from my friend Ralph McGill that Clyde Hogg had died.
But to call Clyde an art director is like calling The Beatles a British rock band.
Clyde was, at various times, obnoxious, crude, funny, gentle, dismissive, brokenhearted, madly in love, and domineering. He was also smart, incisive, and a great friend.
I got to know Clyde when he came to work at Braselton Advertising. We needed an art director, and Ralph brought this stray in off the street named Clyde. I looked down (Clyde wasn’t all that tall) and I could feel the force fields of the Universe rearranging themselves.
Clyde was one of those creative people who would have four good ideas before you finished explaining what the client wanted. His philosophy of advertising was very simple: “Be impossible to ignore.”
Clyde and I worked on the National Bank Of Georgia account together. One project took us to Plains to interview Billy Carter and take photographs for an annual report. I would give just about anything to have a video of Clyde and Billy Carter talking about politics. (They became great friends.)
The thing I will always treasure about Clyde Hogg is that he pushed me to be better.
In 1975 a man named Sidney Pyles decided to run against Buck Melton for Mayor of Macon. Sidney was a plumber. Buck was a socially-prominent lawyer. (And, let me quickly add, a wonderful person.) The race had no issues. What it did have, though, was money. There was a group of businesspeople in Macon who really wanted Sidney to be mayor, and they gave us just about whatever we needed to mount our campaign.
Six weeks out from election day we unloaded: drive-time radio, double-truck newspaper, outdoor. Ralph’s terrific line “Sidney Pyles Works” was everywhere. Clyde’s art direction was blunt, professional, and impossible to ignore. Research showed that Sidney’s name recognition went through the roof.
But the needle wouldn’t move. Buck had the lead in the polls.
So Clyde said: “Challenge Buck to a televised debate.”
I told Clyde we had done that, and that Buck said he wouldn’t debate.
“I don’t give a ****! Have the debate anyway. Buy the time, and publicize the hell out of the Sidney Pyles-Buck Melton Debate. If Buck doesn’t come, he’ll look like he’s afraid of Sidney. If Buck does come at the last minute, he’ll look like he gave in. We win both ways. I love it.”
And so we bought the time and promoted the debate. Buck got there 5 minutes before air time. Sidney looked great, Buck was nervous.
Time marched on, and election day finally came. Sidney lost. Buck Melton was elected mayor of Macon by a comfortable margin.
Clyde, Ralph and I won a Silver Award for Best Overall Campaign that year.
The Varsity should erect a plaque to Clyde Hogg honoring the individual who ate the most consecutive meals at its North Avenue location.
And there should be a bronzed softball bat somewhere honoring Clyde’s Advertising League softball team “The Sweathogs.”
I’ll miss Clyde. I didn’t see him much in recent years, and I am poorer for it. The world that was, and is, the ad game lost a major player, and we will all miss him.