The Last Sale of Provocative, Late Adman Leo Greenland

Greenfield, an unconventional adman.

Greenfield, an unconventional adman.

Leo Greenland, that subtle provocateur of Madison Avenue, helped sell a lot of things during his long life (he died, at age 91, in February): Ovaltine, Johnny Walker, Tootsie Rolls, Penthouse magazine, Helmsley Hotels. And last, but not least, his apartment at 1056 Fifth Avenue. (Well, his estate sold it.)

We’re certain that Greenland, co-founder of the cheeky, clever ad agency Smith/Greenland, would have done a better job if he had been at the helm of this campaign. At least, he would have come up with some more compelling copy than: “Takes Your Breath Away Views – look out onto picture postcard Central Park Views from your living/dining L-shaped living space and enjoy world class sunsets facing west.”

The view is very good.

The view is very nice.

To be fair, the broker babble from Corcoran’s Julie Newdow on this two-bedroom, two-bath Carnegie Hill co-op is actually more creative than most. Take, for example: “As you gaze out and sip your morning coffee, enjoy an evening cocktail or gaze at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the runners heading up to the reservoir, the gentle snow touching the tops of the trees, the promise of spring, the long luxurious days of summer and the foliage as it changes color in the fall, you will feel the simple luxury of an expansive and peaceful view of the most famous park in the world.”

Not as snappy or concise as two scantily-clad women running on a beach with the word “He loves my mind. And he drinks Johnnie Walker” underneath. But considering that all listing photos are of the park and the building exterior, we’d wager that the apartment itself probably needs a major overhaul. And Greenland was a stickler for truth in advertising, taking to the op-ed pages of The New York Times in the 1970s to praise the work of consumer advocates.

The apartment, in any event, seems to have set off a late-breaking bidding war. While it was getting regular price cuts after being listed for $2.4 million shortly after Greenfield’s death, and was most recently asking $2.19 million, the new owners paid $2.3 million. Best of all, the buyers and the timing couldn’t be better. What a coup to have holiday season deal closers named Barbara and Joshua Tannenbaum.

kvelsey@observer.com