Remembering Al Sprague

The passing earlier this month of Al Sprague, founder and chief executive of bGG Advertising, at age 62 brought forth scores of memories and tributes. They came from people who knew him as an influential and successful New Hampshire advertising executive and from those who knew him through his longtime dedication to broadcasting in the Granite State as well as from those who worked with him or simply were entertained by him in his many roles in supporting and performing in theater around the state.

Those testimonials and memories flowed at the celebration of Al’s life, held Nov. 6 at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord.

Al was a man of intelligence and insight, and he liked to share his thoughts – not always in the most delicate manner. (Let the title of his memoir, “Confessions of An Ad Guy: A Very Politically Incorrect One!” speak for itself.) In recent years, he found the perfect vehicle for his brand of communication – a blog, “Opinions of an Ad Guy.”

Among his observations:

• In a post titled, “Okay – the economy sucks!”: “If we agencies want to keep our clients we must be unafraid. We must tell them it’s time to change what they have been doing … They don’t need us to keep doing what they were doing before us!”

• “Sure, I have an economic self interest in promoting the economy. But I have to tell you we need to stop talking about the end of the world — the high price of a barrel of oil. I have a suggestion: buy oil company stock and stop whining.”

• “Truth be told, I have always felt that the best new business plan is being well-connected and part of the community.”

• “Greed. Folks, it’s a five letter word and worse than many of the four letter words we all say. Why? Because it will put you out of business quicker than anything else.”

• “Not returning calls is one of my very biggest pet peeves. Why? Well … it is damn rude. Okay, I know you are all busy executives with too much technology to deal with, but not returning calls is not only rude – it’s just plain bad for business.”

Finally, there was this blog post, under the title, “I Just Wrote My Own Obit!”:

“My wife and I went to talk with a funeral home about pre-planning my arrangements. Why, you ask? Well, to tell the truth I don’t trust anybody to do what I want so I decided the best way to handle it was to plan it all myself.

“My wife will tell you that she was more than a little freaked out about going with me since I’m only 61; in fact, she thought it was a terrible idea. But after the fact she admitted, that while she was not ready to do it, the whole process made sense. This way, one can make plans without the emotions of having just lost a loved one.

“So, I put my wishes in writing: I want to be cremated, I don’t want any services and I gave instructions on how to handle my ashes. In lieu of services, I opted for a celebration after I die at a fun place where my friends can come tell funny stories about me. That’s how I want to be remembered.

“The people at the funeral home made it very easy. They asked a bunch of questions, wrote down all my requests and in the end, I got a nice piece of paper that explains everything – just as I want it.

“Now … if they don’t do what I ask for, I just may come back! Now wouldn’t that be a kick?”