Former Current Editors Walt Jaschek and Paul Fey Become a Story In Themselves

Press Coverage, Radio Commercials, Walt a Life

 

paulandwalt-umslcurrent-online

Former Current Editors Inducted Into St. Louis Media Hall of Fame

Walt Jaschek served as editor-in-chief of The Current, the campus newspaper of the University of St. Louis, in 1974-1975. Staffer and Walt’s new pal Paul Fey was editor in 1975-1976. Years after graduation, the two went on to form Paul & Walt Worldwide, an ad agency specializing in funny radio commercials for national entertainment brands. For this body of creative work, among others, they were recently inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. And to bring it back home, their former creative meeting ground, The Current, ran a pretty funny article about the whole thing. Read the piece by Kat Riddler here.

The circle of life. It’s a thing!

2019 St. Louis Addy Award Winners: Congratulations! 1989 St. Louis Addy Award Winners: Hey, That’s Me!

Award-Winning, Flashbacks, Press Coverage, Walt a Life

By Walt Jaschek

walt-jaschek-with-addy-awards

Part 1: A Surreal Night for an Addy Newcomer.

Heading to the 2019 St. Louis Addy Awards at Busch Stadium tonight, to cheer on the winners, be inspired by the work, and see old friends. It’s with no small bit of nostalgia that I realize I have been attending the St. Louis Addy Awards for exactly 30 years.

And though I’ve won my share of Addys over the years, none of the wins can compare to that first night, in 1989, when I won not one but two “Best of Show” Addys at the ceremonies at Powell Symphony Hall. It was a mind-boggling night my 33-year-old self was not prepared for. I was also not prepared for the article by Jerry Berger that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the next morning. 

Here’s a clip of the piece, which everybody from my Mom to my dentist saw. (Back then, everybody read the paper.)

jerryberger-article-on-waltjaschek-square

Headlined “Ad Writer Steals Show,” the article, accompanied by a mustache-laden head shot of my 33-year-old self, begins:

“Walter S. Jaschek, a free-lance advertising copywriter, stole the show the annual ADDY Award competition Thursday night at Powell Symphony Hall.

“Jaschek, who has an office on the South Side, won three gold and two Best of Show awards for advertising produced in St. Louis between Oct. 1, 1987, and Sept. 30, 1988.

“Jaschek submitted only three in the almost 900 entries received by the ADDY committee,

“‘I’m glad I made the right decision last April to free-lance,’ said Jaschek, a former member of the advertising management staff with Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

“In the Best of Show category, Jaschek won in the radio and print categories. The radio winner was a 30-second commercial, ‘Laugh Catalog,’ for the Comedy Club, which Jaschek created by teaming up with former St. Louis Paul Fey; the print winner was themed, ‘Warm, Personal Letter,’ created to announce the opening of Jaschek Ink.” (The name of my business then.)

The article concluded:

“Hollywood entertainer John Byner served as master-of-ceremonies for the program, which marked the first held away from a hotel without a dinner.

“Of the more than 2,400 guests at Powell, 500 were advertising students from 24 colleges.”

Part 2: Looking Back at 1989 from 2019 (Video and Interview.)

A few months ago, the St. Louis Ad Club, to promote the 2019 St. Louis Addy Awards, asked members for “unusual Addy memories” they could capture on video and post on social media. I was only too happy to recall that first, very surreal win, and how it led to what became known as “The Red Underwear Story.

That’s a crisp and wacky 60 seconds, but the interview went longer. Here’s more of the Q & A.

Q: Let’s get warmed up….tell us a little about yourself. Name, title, where you work, a quick journey through your life in the ad business.

Walt: I’m Walt Jaschek, freelance copywriter and creative strategist, and because Jaschek is impossible to spell or pronounce, I DBA as Walt Now, as in, “What Now?” I have been so blissfully self-employed since 1988, and if you do the math, that means more than 30 years. So don’t do the math. 

Q: What’s the difference between a copywriter and creative strategist?

Walt: Pants. Copywriters wear jeans. Creative strategists wear khakis. So today I come to you as a copywriter. But I have some khakis handy.

Q: What’s your perspective on the focus on winning awards in the advertising business?

Walt: Well, I think there are three reasons they are the big dang deal that they are. (1) We work mostly in anonymity – if you write an article or draw a New Yorker cover, you get a byline. They don’t put bylines on ads, though God knows I’ve tried. It’s a way of saying, “Look. I did this. Me. Do you like it?” (2.) Agencies know awards represent a creative culture, and culture attracts talent. And (3.) let’s cut to the chase: ego. Creatives are a roller –coaster of insecurity and egomania. I mean, would I carry this award around with me if I had more self-esteem?

Q: What about the Addys specifically? How does an awards show that is geared towards the local level different than national shows?

Walt: The appetizers are better. Here in St. Louis, you’re far more likely to see toasted ravioli.  You’re not gonna get THAt a Cannes. No, seriously, I think it’s a matter of building community. Of representing. Saying, look at the work coming out of St. Louis. Take that… Austin. Or to keep it in the district: check it out… Des Moines.

Q. Do you remember your first Addy?

Walt: Sure. You always remember your first.

Q. Do you remember how many Addys you’ve attended?

Walt: No. I’d have to count the hang-overs.

Q. Is there a specific Addy story you’d like to share with us today?

Walt: I won my first “Best of Show” Addy in 1988 when I was 33 years old, my very first year of freelancing, for the ONE and ONLY THING I submitted that year: a one-page piece of a paper — a funny letter announcing my business launch.  Unprepared, I had to go on stage at the Fox in front of a huge crowd to accept from comedian John Byner, and pictures of me from the podium have a shocked, deer-in-headlights quality.  I improvised something about being glad I wore my “lucky red underwear.”  That was too much information, now and then. 

Q. But the red underwear thing became a running joke, right?

A. Right. That line became a running joke, and at another Addy ceremony years later, when I teamed up with Paul Fey and won a “Best of Show” for radio, we actually brought red underwear up to the podium and threw them into the audience. People were grabbing at them, like Fred Bird throwing t-shirts at Busch Stadium. For years after, people would say to me in public:  “I still have your underwear!” Depending on who I might be with, that could be a little disconcerting.

Q: What lesson can we take away from your Addy story?

Walt: My quite serious take-away from that silly story is this:  Enter SOMETHING.  Even if it’s it’s only ONE thing. And even … if it’s the ONLY thing you got. ‘Cause, who knows? Weird stuff happens.

Q. What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering entering the Addys this year?

Walt: iBuprofen. Take it early And often. Also: have a speech prepared. Just in case. otherwise. You could end up like me. (Holds up Addy award with red underwear draped over it.)

Q. Thanks, Walt.

Walt: See you at the show!

Writer and Creative Strategist Walt Jaschek is a 2018 inductee into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.

Paul & Walt Help CBS-TV to Fall Sweeps Success

Press Coverage, Radio Commercials, TV Promotion

This article first appeared in Call Letters, the member newsletter of the Southern California Broadcaster Association, in Fall, 1995. Paul & Walt Worldwide had just completed a national, Fall Sweeps radio campaign promoting CBS-TV, including hit show “Murphy Brown.” Candice Bergen and cast, above.

Paul & Walt Worldwide Converting Ears to Eyes

A Southern California ad agency with the unlikely name of Paul & Walt Worldwide created a “huge radio extravaganza” recently, included appearances by the Temptations, Candice Bergen, Connie Chung and the stars of Designing Women to help client CBS-TV score a major upset, winning its first Fall Sweeps ratings victory in Southern California in six years.

The radio “theatre of the mind” – which recently won a SUNNY for best television promotion – featured a cast of thousands and two CBS-TV sportscasters describing the action with Connie Chung playing the saxophone and the Temptations executing simultaneous backflips. The spots also featured the stars of Designing Women in a dazzling exhibition of synchronized swimming.

“This was a perfect opportunity,” says partner Paul Fey, “to make a major effort on radio and use the medium for what it does so well: utilize the listeners’ imaginations.

CBS-TV made a major commitment to win the Fall premiere week and sweeps battle with new programming and promotion after finishing poorly for several years. The company made the biggest radio campaign in history as part of the massive, multi-media drive.

To tie in with the television campaign, CBS-TV saturated Southern California radio over Labor Day weekend. Paul & Walt produced eight related radio spots built around a fictional event: the “CBS Get Ready Weekend.”

The agency’s two principals, Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek, had separate, successful ad careers prior to joining forces as Paul & Walt Worldwide. Fey began his career at CBS-owned KMOX-TV, St, Louis, creating radio for the station’s audience promotion efforts. Jaschek was simultaneously working as Creative Director for a Colorado ad agency. By 1982 they were each winning national awards. Since then, they’ve won more than 300.

“Walt and I met in 1974 in college when we were both journalism majors and worked on the college newspaper together,: says Walt Jaschek. “Paul used to collect Dick Orkin and Alan Barzman radio spots, and I would ask him, ‘When are we going to great stuff like that?’”

When Paul Fey was writing and producing alone, he was getting job offers from CBS stations who were aware of his work for KMOX. “I didn’t really want to do the same thing in L.A. or New York,” he says. “I really wanted to hold out just enough, to go into business for myself and work for all them. I did that in 1985, and within a few months I was a one-man shop, writing and producing and doing most of my work in Los Angeles. The business was growing fast and needed some help.”

Fey’s school chum Walt, having moved back to St. Louis to become an advertising manager for Southwestern Bell, eventually realized his goal of free-lancing.

The two joined forces fives years ago when Paul got a huge assignment. Since that time Walt has become the full-time writer and Paul participates in concept work and takes care of the business and production end. 

In addition to CBS-TV, the agency does creative work for King Word (distributors of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy”,) Warner Bros. and Anheuser-Busch.

“We love working in radio,” says partner Jaschek. “It lets us supply endless visuals and the listener completes the pictures we create.”

“The only downside to doing radio,” adds Fey, “is that you can’t convince the client that the radio spot has to be done on location in Hawaii like you can with a TV spot.”

Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek of Paul & Walt Worldwide.

2019 update: Paul Fey now runs World Wide Wadio in Hollywood, California. Walt Jaschek now runs Walt Now Creative  in St. Louis. The two continue to collaborate on… radio. In 2018, Paul & Walt were inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.

From Radio World: Paul Fey, Walt Jaschek Are Behind Radio’s Zany Commercials

Flashbacks, Press Coverage, Radio Commercials, Uncategorized

RW_logo_1108

This article on our audio-drenched days as funny radio commercial creators Paul & Walt Worldwide was written by Dee McVicker, and appeared in Radio World®, Vol. 17, No. 23, December 8, 1993.

watermarked-paulfey-waltjaschek-logopose-1991

Paul & Walt: Behind Radio’s Zany Commercials

by Dee McVicker

LOS ANGELES  

It has been said that a radio station is only as good as its commercials. That axiom has served Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek well.

Widely acclaimed for their sharp sense of humor, the team is nationally recognized as the creative genius behind a number of radio spots promoting the seasonal lineup of shows for TV networks.

Their client list includes King World, Warner Brothers Television, 20th Century Television and CBS Television Network.

“If a commercial is boring and doesn’t hold their attention, we can’t blame them if they reach up and hit the button on the car radio,” said Paul Fey, founding partner of Paul & Walt Worldwide. “We want to stop them in their tracks.”

Fey and Jaschek have been on the laugh track since high school, winning some 400 awards for excellence in commercial production, including three Clios and two regional Emmys. The team walked award with the five Ollies in one evening, setting a record for the most awards won by one company in the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s annual presentation.

One Ollie was presented for a Paul & Walt commercial, “Auditions,” in which Patrick Stewart is among the voices trying out for the part of Jean Luc Picard in “Star Trek.”

Of all the awards (which stream in at a rate of 50 a year), Fey is most partial to the team’s first Clio. Fey aspired to win a Clio since his high school years, and recalls vividly the magic feeling of creating the spot.

It was a radio ad featuring a “catalog” of types of laughter. “The whole spot was kind of invented on Walt’s front porch. It just sort of came out… It wrote itself,” he said.

What keeps this team on the leading edge? “We never want to get satisfied with doing the same thing,” Fey said, pointing out that too many comedy teams rely on formulaic humor.

“Once upon a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, funny dialogue radio spots were what broke through the clutter. Now, I feel that funny dialogue spots are becoming the clutter, because there is so much of it out there,” Fey said.

Radio in particular lends itself to production-oriented spots, where a hybrid of audio effects, humor and dialogue work together. “It’s much easier to do a gigantic-scale production on radio because a lot of it is letting people’s minds fill it in,” he said.

A recent Paul & Walt commercial for a cellular telephone carrier, for example, camped up the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around” with a polka beat accompanied by amusing dialogue, delivered in a deadpan voice:

“I get around, so I signed up for voice mail. I used to leery about sending voice mail. I wasn’t sure if I was putting enough stamps on it.”

As the music cut in and out abruptly, the deadpan voice again speaks up:

“Voice mail is easy. Think of it as rolling up a yellow sticky-note, jamming it into your cellular phone, and having it pop out somewhere else.”

Life begins for a Paul & Walt spot with an idea, either dreamed up by Fey, the production genius of the team, or Jaschek, the primary writer. Fey works from the Paul & Walt Worldwide office in Los Angeles, while Jaschek works from his office in St. Louis, the city where they both grew up.

They communicate through faxes and computer modems to tighten ideas, copy and production of radio ads.

The spot takes life in the imagination long before it is committed to tape. “It’s no exaggeration for me to say that I know exactly what a spot sounds like before it’s recorded,” Fey said. “The key is trying to put on tape what’s in my head.”

Paul & Walt fleshes out the characters, relying on a pool of creative talent from an audio studio in the same building as its Los Angeles office.

“People get accustomed to thinking of radio in a certain way,” said Fey, who claims the company owes its success to breaking those conventions. The plan for the future is to continue carving out new niches in radio commercials.

Paul & Walt Worldwide is now working on a project that Fey hopes will set a new milestone in how people perceive radio. He was mum about who the client is and the product, saying only that he is not bound to the conventions of 30 or 60 seconds for the spots.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can do with radio,” he said.

Update, 2019: Paul currently runs World Wide Wadio in Hollywood. Walt runs Walt Now Entertainment in St. Louis. They both continue to collaborate on… radio.

“Snicker, Chuckle:” Terry Winkelmann Interviews Walt Jaschek, 1994

Flashbacks, Press Coverage, Process, TV Promotion

southtownword-waltjaschek-lowrez

This article by Terry Winkelmann first appeared on the front page of the St. Louis Southtown Word newspaper on August 11, 1994. The photo of Walt and Adam Jaschek is by Nate Silver. It was summer. That was our backyard patio.  Adam was 11. 

Snicker, Chuckle

Southside resident generates worldwide laughs

By Terry Winkelmann

If you watch CBS or Fox during prime-time or NBC late night, chances are good that you’ve laughed at Walt Jaschek – or at least his work.

The advertising agency of Paul & Walt Worldwide specializes in tickling the funny bones of radio television audiences. The St. Louis-half of the duo –– lives and works in a three-story brick house in quiet Clifton Heights. His partner, Paul Fey, works out of a high-rise on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Jaschek, a former advertising executive at Southwestern Bell Telephone, writes commercials for some of the top brands in the country, including Cadillac and Anheuser-Busch Cos. But possibly his most recognized effects are his television promotions. He’s done work for NBC, specifically spots for Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but for the past three years, the firm’s biggest clients has been CBS. Earlier this year, Fox Broadcasting signed Jaschek to create a national radio campaign for “The Simpsons.”

Jaschek and Fey, who met in their undergraduate days at UMSL, teamed up in 1991. The partnership has won the critical acclaim of most advertising and entertainment industry organizations. Last year, the team won five Ollie awards at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s 33rd Annual International Broadcasting Awards. They’ve also scored two Clio awards, three Addys and a dozen International Broadcasting awards, among others.

“It’s fun to be part of the national entertainment scene,” says Jaschek.

It’s also fun to work at home, autonomously. That leaves this father of two free to squire his son, Adam, to swimming lessons during the summer. Adam Jaschek also helps Dad review new series and is also the first line critic on shows and certain promotional spots. When the sitcoms “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Family Matters” debuted, Adam saw the pilots before any of his classmates did. The network frequently sends by overnight express videos of new series for Jaschek to examine. Not only do his spots garner a show attention during a season, the commercials can affect its initial acceptance.

When first setting up shop in his basement, he went door to door telling his neighbors he’d be working from home. One resident responded with relief. “Oh good,” the man said. “I thought you were on a really long vacation.”

Jaschek confesses he had “no formal training” in TV promotion. Once he stumbled on the specialty, courtesy opportunities brought in by partner Fey, he simply realized “how fun it was and how many of my skills, some useless until that point, came into play.” Writing humorous promos “just evolved,” he says.

Writing a campaign can up to a week, but sometimes he has just 24-hours to come up with 60 seconds of knee-slapping wit. That’s when the glamour of working at home wanes. In the early days of Paul & Walt Worldwide, he recalls, “I worked morning, noon, night and weekends… I was totally consumed.”

These days, having settled into somewhat of a routine, he doesn’t start writing until 2 p.m. “In the morning, I’m watching pilots, taking notes, getting Adam to swimming lessons, brainstorming with partner Paul, letting the dog out…” But after 2 p.m., he gets cranking.

Just a year ago, Jaschek wrote 100 percent of the material his produces – approximately 500 commercials a year. Now he shares the work with another writer in the five-person Sunset Boulevard offices headed by Paul Fey.

Once he’s written the scripts, he sends them to L.A. via modem. “Paul prints them out and presents them to CBS,” he says.

Fey then produces the approved scripts, supervising the casting, directing and editing, in state-of-the-art recording studios in the L.A. office of Paul & Walt Worldwide. Once the approved spots are completed, the network ships them out to radio networks and stations nationally.

“CBS thinks it’s funny that I live in St. Louis,” Jaschek says. A few years ago, I would have had to live in L.A. to do what I do. But today, for all the difference it makes, “I could be in the office down the hall, across town or St. Louis.”

With Los Angeles two hours behind St. Louis time, Jaschek’s hours are also longer. “I feel like a really, really remote suburb of L.A.”

Relocating is not in the cards, he insists. “I love St. Louis. My extended family is here, and it’s a pleasant places, lush, green – and not crowded.”

Working from home is an “accountability thing,” he says. “People take responsibility for their own works, ideas and lives” when the clock that’s running is their own.

Jaschek has just completed a screenplay, is working on a comic book, and is a guest lecturer at Webster University. In short: “I’m having a blast,” he says.

walt-and-adam-jaschek-1994

Walt Jaschek used to have a mustache.

 

“Walt Jaschek and His Basement Humor”: St. Louis Business Journal article

Clippings, Flashbacks, Press Coverage, Process

Basement office? Check. VHS tapes stacked and labeled? Check. Mac SE powered up? Check. White turtleneck with sleeves rolled up? Check. Let’s write!

Article By Patricia Miller, from The St. Louis Business Journal, Jan. 28. 1991:

stlouisbusinessjournal-part1

businessjournalarticle-part2a

Walt Jaschek and his basement humor

by Patricia Miller

What strikes Walt Jaschek as funny in his southside basement often ends up on national radio.

Jaschek, 35, writer radio advertising, including national radio campaigns promoting CBS Television Network and Warner Brothers programs. His firm, Walt Now, is based in the basement of his home on Columbia Avenue.

“I figure that if it makes me laugh here in the basement, it probably works,” Jaschek said.

No only does it work, but it has also earned the St. Louis native local, regional and national attention and an number of Clio and Addy advertising awards, which line the steps of the walls leading to his basement.

“We create mind movies,” Jaschek said. “With radio, the audience is already there — you just supply the visuals.”

Larry and LaVerne, the couple addicted to the Jeopardy game show, are Jaschek’s creation. Jaschek developed the characters as pat of a story lien to promote the CBS game show for radio. (A third character, “Trebecka,” is in the making, Jaschek hinted.)

In another radio spot for the game show, Jaschek describes how “darn hard” it is to win at Jeopardy. 

“I mean these categories! ‘Civil War Snack Foods!’ Famous Gynecologists! Medieval Flossing Techniques!’…”

Jaschek’s link to “Hollywood” is his college buddy, Paul Fey, a St. Louis native who at one time worked for KMOX-TV and is a producer in Los Angeles. They have collaborated on advertising projects since Jaschek “took the plunge off the 38th floor” of Southwestern Bell Corp. (where he was advertising manager) into freelancing in 1988.

The two University of Missouri-St. Luis grads are formalizing their informal business relationship this month under the name of Paul & Walt Worldwide, according to Jaschek, who said they work well together  since they share “an inclination toward audio humor.”

“We brainstorm together,” Fey said. “But the way it has evolved, Walt does the lion’s share of the writing and while his is writing I’m producing the last spot he wrote.”

The two partners have completed hundreds or radio spots over the past two years, by way of phone, fax and modem, according to Fey. He declined to disclose the their revenues, but said a typical CBS Network radio spots runs about $9000 to $10,000 from concept to completion.

In some of those spots, Jaschek wrote scripts for the TV actors to promote their own programs, which has inspired him to do do bigger projects.

“Since I’ve done a one-minute script for the Golden Girls, I believe I can multiply that by 22 minutes,” he said. “I’d like to transition from promoting the project to doing own product, namely a TV sitcom.”

Jaschek’s resumes includes public service announcements for the American Optometric Association and the city of St. Lous Operation Brightside, as well as comic strips for Marvel Comics and his own original comic strip, Dang Gnats!

His resume also includes a theme song for the state of Missouri which he developed for Kenrick Advertising. Jaschek set the song to a country and western theme calling on tourists to “relax and refresh” in Missouri enabling him to let loose the frustrated country western songwriter in himself, he said.

The theme song and other single market humor are often much more difficult than writing national humor, according to Jaschek, who counts as his early models Monty Python, the early Second City / Saturday Night Live crew, Warner Brothers cartoons and the early Mad magazine.

“It’s a challenge to write something that is funny in Seattle, Miami, New York and Los Angeles, but single market humor is harder — you really have to know the market.

Jaschek descends into his office at about 8:30 every morning Monday through Friday. Mornings are typically spent on logistics, and always include at least one phone call to Fey in Los Angeles.

The answering machine is turned on in the afternoon during which time Jaschek “hibernates” while he goes on an “intense writing blitz to meet the daily 5 p.m. script deadlines. He then picks the pace back up again from 9 p.m. to midnight, working on the next day’s assignment or other freelance.

— End Story, January 28, 1991

Walt Jaschek wishes social media had been around when he was interesting