Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Good Things Happen To Bad People

I knew when I wrote that nasty Blog about Magnus Nicolin and Helena Wong of Essselte recently that some higher power would punish me. He/she did. It was awful. My 12-year-old Maltese, (her birthday is today—Sept 26th) went into congestive heart failure last week and nearly suffocated to death. On Monday morning the cardiologist at the Animal Medical Center called to say that Coco had an hour to live. Her lungs were filling with fluids and they were having a difficult time draining them. The meds weren’t working. Reluctantly, the doctors increased the diuretics and other drugs to dangerously high levels in order to see some positive reactions. They were very worried about the impact this was going to have on Coco’s other organs: help the heart, and possibly destroy her kidneys. She had been on oxygen for almost 24 hours. Eliot, my daughter Whitney and I held a vigil at the hospital till Coco showed signs of improvement.

Since Coco was in ICU we were only allowed to visit her every two hours. We waved, blew kisses and gave her the high sign to cheer her on. She was in a fog. The tear in her mitral valve that caused all this had turned this cute little fluff ball into an old lady over night. Coco looked exhausted and her breathing was very labored. She stared at us with those familiar round saucers that said, "Don’t count me out yet."

The three of us got the same vibes. Coco was sending a message that said, "Time out. Let me recoup. I still have a lot of living to do." I sobbed myself to sleep the first night she got sick. I was having a meltdown. Poor little helpless Coco. Poor little helpless me. There was nothing in the world that I could do for her. What a horrible feeling.

To complicate matters, Eliot and I were due in Miami 42 hours later for a business cocktail party we had organized to launch the audition casting calls for the new Dotster Dots, a search for company spokes models for our client, Dotster. Visit www.dotster.com to learn about their suite of services involving domain registrations, web hosting and creating web sites.

On the third day of this nightmare, we received good news. Coco was 70 percent better. By the fourth day, while we were still in Miami, Coco was taken off of oxygen. The doctors were even talking about her going home! Everyone was celebrating. Our daughter Whitney called to tell us to get on the next flight home. I think Eliot and I flew without ever entering an airplane. We were floating on cloud 9.

Whitney was a tremendous help. She visited Coco regularly while we were away and sent us digital photos of the two of them from her telephone. Once Coco came off of oxygen, Whitney was allowed to take her into one of the examination rooms for a half hour playtime. During those precious minutes, Whitney took pictures of Coco and herself and emailed them to us so we could see the great progress our dog was making. Although the bandages on her legs that kept the intravenous needles in place were still visible, as well as shaved bald spots where other meds were injected, we were overjoyed at just being able to see Coco doing so well.

This Rosh Hashanah is a very happy one for us. Coco is back with the family and has returned to work with me. She is still a little fragile and her appetite is not quite what is should be. We are hopeful that she will get better everyday.

So what is the lesson that we learned here? Life can be worse than dealing with Magnus and Helena.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dial 911 For Newell Rubbermaid

What an appropriate announcement on September 11, 2006. . . Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL), makers of Sharpie, Paper Mate, Waterman, EXPO, Rubbermaid, Calphalon, Graco, Goody, BernzOmatic, IRWIN and LENOX, announced today they hired Magnus Nicolin as President of Newell Rubbermaid Europe. As far as I am concerned, you can kiss all of these brands goodbye...or at least their business on the other side of the Ocean.

HWH worked for this guy in the United States along with his henchwoman Helena Wong at Esselte, the worldwide office products company, they managed to ....er..........."let's just say the company is a shadow of its former self." We worked for Esselte long before Magnus and that little snot Helena showed up.

It probably won't be too long before Magnus hires his crony whom he met at P&G. He did that at Esselte. They like to work together as a team flashing their P&G backgrounds around because, in my opinion, they are totally clueless, socially and professionally.

Nicolin is very handsome, and his movie star good looks cover up for other weaknesses. The picture of Magnus here doesn't make him look like the debonair devil that he is. But trust me, he is very tall and distinguished looking. He is one of those people that make you stop and stare.

Helena is just the opposite. I don't know what her talents are but in my experience she had about as much authority being the Chief Marketing Officer for Esselte as I have being Miss USA. In all my years working (40 years this past Sept 9th), I have never met someone so condescending and misinformed than she.

One day she decided that Esselte needed a big idea to make the company famous. She asked HWH and two other agencies to present creative ideas. I don't know what happened at the other presentations, but during ours she spent the entire time telling us we were worthless. I have never experienced this before and the only reason why I didn't wipe the walls with her is because I thought I owed some respect to her two lieutenants, Chris Ang and Chris Curran.They applauded our ideas in a preview meeting but disassociated themselves when she mouthed off. I have never forgiven myself for not putting her in her place, especially when she announced that Samsung, one of our other clients, was not a good example of the great work we were doing. Samsung, as far as she was concerned, was an inferior brand stuck in a garage some place. The Chris' slid down in their chairs from embarrassment.

The meeting got even worse but I will save those details for anyone who wants a first hand account of the dragon lady. When I tried to contact Magnus to tell him that Helena was a disaster, he never returned phone calls. He was off globetrotting. Why sweat the small stuff and HWH obviously fell in that category. That's okay. We went on to bigger and better things while Esselte fell apart. Perhaps it was the big idea Helena fell in love with:

She selected an agency that told her to drop a sizeable paper plane branded with the name Esselte on it off the Empire State Building to generate big news.

Needless to say that idea was never executed but the company was.