Yesterday, on October 10th, 2013, the world lost an incredible man — friend, husband, father, grandfather, mentor and marketing legend – Jay Conrad Levinson. Jay was the Father of Guerrilla Marketing and author of many books which sold millions of copies world-wide.
He was also part of the creative teams that made household names of The Marlboro Man, The Pillsbury Doughboy, Tony the Tiger, Mr Clean and many other well known brands.
Jay created a movement — guerrilla marketing — while teaching at University of California in Berkeley, where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were two of his many students.
Jay didn’t believe in retirement, any more than he believed in working more than 3 days a week (something I’m sure many of us strive for). He lived to enjoy life — and it was evident by the stories he told.
Approximately 20 months ago, an opportunity crossed my path to write a book with Jay. I had never seriously considered writing a book and yet when I heard I could write with this legend, I jumped at the chance. I didn’t know why I felt so compelled to take up this offer — an offer that would require a considerable investment in both time and money. The time, I had — the money, I didn’t. However, I cashed in a chunk of what was left of my retirement funds and found myself in his home a couple of weeks later for Guerrilla Marketing Intensive. It was here that I was welcomed into the guerrilla family and we decided that I was going to write Guerrilla Tourism Marketing.
Writing this book with him changed my life. I became a published author and a best selling author but that’s not all that happened. I continued to go with the flow and follow a path I didn’t quite understand. This path has become a lot clearer this year — it’s how I became known to many as the Queen of Reinvention — and it all started because Jay believed in me and my abilities.
I took my family to visit with Jay and Jeannie back in March and we had a blast listening to their stories — the story of how they met, the story of their first date and how they got engaged on their first date. We heard stories about their travels in their RV, we heard stories of children and grandchildren; we heard stories about Berkeley and we heard stories about his days in the advertising industry.
Jay then engaged in a wonderful conversation with my daughter Lauren about university and writing and making a difference before inviting us into his office to look at his mementos and all the pins on the map that indicated where he’d travelled.
For all the successes Jay achieved one would think he would be “unapproachable” yet he was far from it. He was a legend, he was authentic and he was an incredible man that I am honoured to have called a friend and a mentor. Jay, you will be sorely missed by many.
Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003. She is the founder of Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.
Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.