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My actual first job in an actual advertising agency was not writing advertising. It was placing it. I was a media intern for a mid-size agency on Michigan Ave. in Chicago. And I was cool with that. I just wanted to be in an agency–any agency–no matter what they asked me to do.
Well, on this day, they asked if I’d like a ticket to go see John F. Kennedy, Jr. speak.
John F. Kennedy, Jr. was in Chicago to promote his new magazine George. I don’t remember what organization hosted the event, but all the media buyers/planners from all the agencies and media outlets in the city were in attendance.
In 1995, George magazine launched with the help of America Online, and John F. Kennedy, Jr. as the editor. The tagline was “Not Just Politics As Usual,” and the magazine was to attempt to portray politics as just another form of entertainment, kind of like the People Magazine of Politics.
John F. Kenedy, Jr.’s talk was about how his magazine was going to be different. It would have a broad appeal, the writing would reveal what happens behind the scenes in politics, along with celebrities mixed in. But most importantly, George would bring in target key demographics, which is what everyone in attendance wanted to hear.
I recall sitting way, way, WAY in the back of the room at a round table with seven women I didn’t know. From where I was sitting, he was just this tiny speck of a person, but his dark suit helped him stand out against the light-colored stage. Here he is, the son of a president, trying to accomplish something big, and putting in the work necessary to make it happen. And you could tell he was excited about it.
Listening to him, he just seemed like a really good guy, really down-to-earth. Sucks what happened to him. He died way too early.

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