The world of advertising is an ongoing evolution, producing new philosophies as quickly as new media is invented. Throughout the history of marketing there have been moments that have caused the way in which we reach people to leap forward. Some attribute these decisive turning points to new media; Farnsworth’s television or the advent of social media. But in the end, the success of a media is directed by the way in which it is used. Advertising has hundred of founding fathers, but as with America’s Mt. Rushmore, there are a few who stand clearly on top as iconoclastic visionaries.
Bill Bernach (1911-1982)
Bill’s style was anti-culture when compared to his contemporaries. He was even-tempered, unpretentious and completely disinterested in established marketing formulas. “Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula.” In an age of dancing cigarettes and over the top radio voices, Bernach’s sincere approach to advertising brought about campaigns that appealed to consumers at a more personal level. He took the time to get to know the end user just as well as he knew the product. Bill Bernach avoided the trap over analysis despite running a company whose billing exceeded $1 billion. Logic and over-analysis can immobilize an idea. It’s like love, the more you analyze it, the faster it disappears.”
Marion Harper Jr. (1916-1989)
Harper began his career in the mailroom of McCann Erickson. It was a humble beginning for the recent Yale graduate, but his analytical brain was already 5 moves ahead. He would soon become personal assistant to H.K. McCann and his eventual successor. Once in power, Harper’s systematic approach gave way to one of the most important innovations in advertising history; the modern agency network system. The creation of Interpublic introduced the world to a more comprehensive business structure, which leveraged resources to deliver a more end-to-end service.
Leo Burnett (1892-1971)
Leo Burnett is the genesis for some of the world’s most recognizable branding icons. From the Jolly Green Giant to Tony the Tiger to the Marlboro man, his creative spirit brought life to the brands with which he worked. Though remembered by many for his lineup of brand mascots, in his time Burnett was known for his outstanding copy. He had a knack for capturing a brand’s essence and personality, creating campaigns that captivated consumers while warming their hearts.
David Ogilvy (1911-1999)
Truly influential artists recognize the intelligence and sincerity of their audience. Their art often reflects the depth of their subject and speaks profoundly to the viewer. David Ogilvy abided by these classic rules of art when developing his copy. Though his copy was sometimes plain, he spoke with a familiar tone that delivered facts and stories that related to the consumer. His efforts to never speak down to the public made post war icons out of brands such as Shell Oil, Sears, KLM, American Express and IBM.
The great advertisers of the golden years have laid a foundation for the continued growth and expansion of the industry. As we venture into new media and transform the way in which we communicate with consumers, we find ourselves relying on foundational structures from the past. Ideas Collide’s drive to innovate keeps us moving forward, but we will always keep pure, timeless values at our core.