Boase, Martin (1932- )

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Martin Boase was born in Sheffield, England, in 1932. As a youngster, Mr. Boase was a veteran of 14 different schools before a stint in the army and the University of Oxford (where he took a language degree).

At 26, following a stretch in the theater, Mr. Boase was employed first by the London Press Exchange, then at the Robert Sharp & Partners agency for two years. In 1961, he took a job as account manager at London ad agency Pritchard Wood and rapidly ascended to managing director. But at the end of 1967, the agency's future was threatened by the seeming lurch toward bankruptcy of its parent, the Interpublic Group of Cos.

The board of Pritchard Wood offered up a management buyout solution, but negotiations stalled and the deal never went through. Instead, on May 9, 1968, Mr. Boase and nine other directors walked out to form Boase Massimi Pollitt.

In 1983, Mr. Boase, the only remaining of the three founding partners, took London-based BMP public. Over the years, the agency forged relationships with many long-term clients, including Volkswagen and Anheuser-Busch Co. It also created one of the most memorable taglines in British advertising history for Cadbury's Smash brand of instant potatoes: "For mash get Smash."

In 1989, two years after he became chairman of Britain's Advertising Association, Mr. Boase fought off a takeover of BMP by French advertising giant BDDP by negotiating instead a $187.5 million white-knight offer from the U.S.-based Omnicom Group, reportedly within 36 hours.

As his career evolved, so did Mr. Boase's industry reputation for a profits-after-performance approach to the business; he established a popular reputation for style, both personal and professional.

From 1989 to 1995, he served as chairman of Omnicom and has held various directorships with the British Television Advertising Awards and became chairman of outdoor advertising company Maiden Group.


Born in Sheffield, England, July 14, 1932; graduated from University of Oxford, 1956; became account manager at London ad agency Pritchard Woods, 1961; left Pritchard Woods with nine other directors to form Boase Massimi Pollitt, 1968; took BMP public, 1983; sold agency to Omnicom and became chairman, 1989; resigned as chairman, 1995.

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