Copyranter has a retrospective on the man he calls “the greatest American copywriter”:
You won’t find much information about Tom McElligott online. He didn’t give very many interviews. He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. And his Minneapolis start-up agency, Fallon McElligott Rice, made its mark in the pre-internet years of 1981–1988. This was smack in the middle of the mega-merger phenomenon of big Madison Avenue agencies swallowing other big Madison Avenue agencies—a development that forever destroyed a lot of the creativity and spirit of the advertising industry. … I plastered the felt-covered cubicle walls at my first ad-agency copywriting job with [McElligott ads], carefully, selfishly X-Acto’d out of the annuals. Another thing on my wall was this quote by McElligott:
“I’d much rather overestimate the intelligence of the consumer than underestimate it.”
On the print ads seen above:
One of McElligott’s early clients was the Episcopal Church. Better ads for a church have never been written. Period.