The Juice

Well 20  years ago today OJ led the LA  police in that epic White Bronco car chase. I thought it was longer ago but with this thug one day seems like 1,000 years...biblically speaking of course.

When I worked in Santa Monica, I did the Gretna Green drive by and one of my co-workers was one of the neighbors who appeared at the trial.  Back on Long Island, I rode the Long Island Railroad with the assistant to the guy who made the OJ Simpson "glove".  My only other degree of separation was in college when USC played Michigan State and I saw him play.

When the car chase started, CNN switched immediately to live coverage and the details of why he was being chased, Nicole's murder, Ron's murder, the "I cut my hand on a bathroom glass in Chicago" yada yada stuff was being talked about.  Bob Perlstein, the famous media director at my company, called our CNN account exec - a fellow named Mose Hazo - and put the phenomenal amount of $5 million dollars of media on hold for the next year (as we were in the CNN upfront buy for the next year's commercial placements) and then took an option, on behalf of about a
OJ wasn't in the driver's seat
dozen clients on something like $5 million more as an optional hold if CNN elected to cover a trial.  

This sucked about 20% (then) of the CNN/Headline News available advertising space out of the market.  Perlie's reasoning was that there was going to be a trial and a lot of CNN news coverage (they covered the trial by he way) and people would watch in fascination which they did as CNN delivered 3 times the estimated audience ratings for a year....and we owned all the advertising property.  

A $5 million dollar buy in the upfront was already deeply discounted and it returned 3 times the audience - the overall effect was that $5 bought about $25 million in audience advertising reach.  We were famous as a media shop for that foresight and that white Bronco.