Dear Helaine and family,
So much, that is so well deserved, has been said about Sid’s life and legacy, from awards and Honorary Degree citations, to personal letters of gratitude for Sid’s generosity and humanitarian impact. But owing to his innate modesty, even some family may not realize how much of a Renaissance man Sid truly was.
I had the privilege of knowing Sid not just in his role as philanthropist, but in his long and storied advertising career. When he worked in my marketing agency some years ago, Sid hatched many groundbreaking, even disruptive ideas that were not only brilliantly word-smithed, but which also broke the molds of tradition and established policy. He helped us convince the NCAA to use their official logo to promote several leading beer brands along with responsible drinking, to college football fans. His creativity led to the first ever corporately sponsored float in the Thanksgiving Day Parade … floating an aluminum foil logo in front of 55 million TV viewers globally. His ideas were often off the wall, or in one case, under the rug. In order to promote a revolutionary carpet fiber, he actually formed an original rock group to advertise the product in televised commercials. And then working with a leading hotel casino client, he crafted a campaign that would bring thousands of patrons from the NY metro & mid-Atlantic region to Atlantic City, by promoting the convenience of proximity: “You’ve Never Been So Close to So Much”… entertainment and winnings, of course.
Sid’s memory, and the special friendship we shared, will live in our hearts for so many reasons, not the least of which will be our many shared meals, his inspiration for the best way to enjoy a martini … and his spontaneous turn-of-phrase when he learned of our son’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis, “Don’t Let Diet Beat Us!”, which the ADA would eventually adopt as a nutritional motto.
I hope this shines a light on some of the lesser-known ways, even beyond Charmin’s Mr. Whipple, in which Sid’s intellect, wit and versatility made a memorable impact. I have a feeling he’d want you to have a smile on this occasion. And we all know he’d have something clever to say.
With love for our great friend,
Jeff and Judy McElnea