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Culture House Daily

RIP Luis Dominguez, the man who invented the Speccie luncheon

8 March 2017

3:43 PM

8 March 2017

3:43 PM

Luis Dominguez was born in the UK to the family of an Argentine diplomat and spent most of his childhood in the US, having relocated there during World War II.  I first met him at Portsmouth Priory, a small boarding school in Rhode Island, not far from Newport. My memory is of him dressed in whites for the tennis team.

My next crossing of Luis’s trail was at Rollins, a small college in Winter Park, Florida. Here he was once again dressed in whites as leader of the triumphant tennis team. After graduation, we met in New York for lunch at the Racquet and Tennis Club. Luis worked for House and Garden magazine in the advertising department and after work he would don his whites to play court tennis. At the time, I was hoping to move from banking into advertising. Luis suggested that I fill his position as he was planning to join The New Yorker. I set forth to House and Garden.

Two years later, I followed Luis to The New Yorker where he worked in travel and Fred Jackson worked in fashion and fragrance advertising. I joined as an advertising representative in the retail department. What fun we all had selling advertising to national and local businesses. Luis was a ‘go to guy’ who, like a few on our staff, would create a way to land business. One mission in travel was to somehow crack the big ad budget for the Haitian department of tourism. It turned out that the real power behind this budget was the chief of police whose ‘friend’ ran the department. The chief was never available during the day, but Luis found out that he and his girlfriend frequented the hottest night club in Port-au-Prince. Our man was lying in wait for the chief with chilled bottles of his favourite bubbly. Yes, The New Yorker did get the business that year and for many thereafter.

 

When promoted to head The New Yorker’s European office in London, Luis was asked to chase down business for many of The New Yorker advertising departments. My retail category included many well established London stockists, so I sent Luis a list of potential clients. One very established shop had always reported that they would love to advertise, but their major shareholder lived in the country and didn’t come to town. Undeterred, Luis sent off a letter announcing his recent appointment and let it be known that he would like to present his card at her country house. On the given day, Luis was driven to the door for his appointment and presented her with two dozen long stemmed roses. Again, The New Yorker got the business!

After his New Yorker job in London, Luis was introduced to The Spectator, where he joined as publisher. His unique grasp of the magazine business was quickly evident, as was the need for someone with his expertise. As Luis settled into his office, it soon became obvious that in addition to his professionalism, here was a man of considerable grace and charm who immediately understood the inner workings of editors and writers and their significance in the life of this venerable publication. Recognising the importance of editorial contributions and critical analysis, Luis developed a series of Speccie luncheons with his business clients and the editors. These subsequently became known around London ad circles as the place to be and eventually included Members of Parliament and notables from all walks of London life. One tremendous recognition of his talents was two pages in the Telegraph Group Annual Report chronicling how he turned around 170 plus years of negative earnings and led The Spectator into the black. He continued to read The Spectator until his death

Needless to say, we all miss Luis. May he rest in peace.

Respectfully submitted by Louis C.R. Farrelly and Frederick Jackson.


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