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Notable New     Yorkers
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Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
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Session:         Page of 824

Heiskell:

That was one of the best ideas that anybody ever had.

Q:

Why don't you describe it?

Heiskell:

One of the problems with returning officers was that they may have left at age twenty--these people had left maybe having just graduating from school, but with very little experience, and they came back majors, lieutenant colonels, having carried large responsibilities in the military, but having no experience in civilian business life.

Larson dreamt up this idea of hiring one hundred of, hopefully, the best to make them merchandising representatives. Namely, they represented Life in the big distribution chains of the United States, really selling the idea of Life advertised products to the big retailers in food, housing, appliances, so on and so on. Pretty soon, the stores all started sprouting signs saying “Advertised in Life.” This, of course, had an enormous impact on the advertisers and the advertisers all felt that if the stores liked the “Advertised in Life” signs, that was indicative of the strength of Life. So it worked perfectly.

It also was a perfect way of introducing these people who'd had no knowledge of business into the whole business system and they all got promoted and became salesmen and managers and, indeed, twenty years later, the company was being run by an awful lot of people who'd gone into that program.

Q:

Let's talk about the change of the guard that took place in 1946



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