QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: John Eckel

If you ever wondered why LA still doesn't have a pro football team,

we suggest you give this guy a call. Meet Hill & Knowlton's John

Eckel.



What do you do? I head up Hill & Knowlton's Sports Marketing Asset

Group, serve as chief creative integrator for BrandStruck (a rapidly

growing joint operation between H&K and J.Walter Thompson), and oversee

H&K's Irvine, CA office.



How did you get into PR? Like all devotees of Bewitched ad exec Darren

Stevens, I wanted to be an ad copywriter. Fresh out of Marquette

University and having arrived at NW Ayer/Chicago for an interview, I

realized I'd left my ad portfolio atop the car prior to the 30-mile

commute. Before I could develop a new one, I received a great PR job

offer. No regrets after 20 years ... Turns out that strong writing and

creativity were ideal skills for the PR biz.



What was your biggest screw-up? My colleague and I got into a huge car

crash while en route to a private jet taking me to Seattle for a press

conference announcing that the Seattle Seahawks football team was moving

from Seattle to Los Angeles. I had all the press kit materials, discs,

luggage, etc., and after totaling the car, I walked 1.5 miles down the

highway in the pouring rain to make the flight in time. Must have been

an omen, because the team's move was blocked and LA is still without a

pro team.



What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Change Kansas University

basketball coach Roy Williams' media interview schedule without his

approval during the John Wooden Classic. Roy said, "Only my wife and my

minister have that authority, John, and you sure as heck don't look like

either." My ears are still ringing four years later.



Who would you most like to work with? I have been blessed with a career

that includes having coaching legend John Wooden whisper thanks in my

ear at half court of the John Wooden Classic I just helped create;

playing Nerf ball with Jerry West and Magic Johnson; introducing Michael

Jackson at a Super Bowl halftime show; exchanging laughs with Wayne

Gretzky in his private plane and Michael Jordan during out-takes of an

ad shoot; working with Mark McGwire and his Foundation for Abused

Children; and hanging with Jamie Lee Curtis as she helped photograph and

fingerprint kids at Ford Blue Oval Certified dealerships to keep them

safe. I couldn't possibly wish for more out of work.



If you were an animal, what would you be? Wolf, alpha male. Aggressive

but patient in the hunt, tireless, dogged in the pursuit of a goal, and

fiercely loyal to its own, the wolf's strength lies in its pack ... I'm

all about our monster account team and my family.



What is the secret of your success? A sense of humor, a level of

insecurity that breeds perfectionist tendencies, and good hair.



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