David N. Martin, who in 1965 founded Martin and Woltz with George Woltz, has passed away at the age of 82.
According to the agency, Mr. Martin died at home, losing a "battle with cancer that had progressed quickly in the past few weeks."
Mr. Martin not only leaves behind as a legacy his name on the door (Martin and Woltz was renamed The Martin Agency in 1975) but one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years -- "Virginia is for Lovers." The long-running tourism slogan, which launched in 1969, was his brainchild and is still well known today.
Mr. Martin graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1952, and was for many years a leader in the advertising industry on both a local and national level. He was named Advertising Person of the Year by the Richmond Ad Club in 1969, inducted into Virginia Commonwealth University's Mass Communications Hall of Fame in 1987, and was a regional head for the 4A's.
The agency was independent until 1986, when it was acquired by Scali McCabe & Sloves, which was in turn bought by Interpublic Group of Cos.
When Mr. Martin retired from The Martin Agency in 1989, his ad career did not end; he started two more ad firms in Richmond with his sons Rob and Dave H. Martin. He co-founded Martin Branding Worldwide in 1999 with Rob, and then BrandSync in 2000 with the younger Dave.
"Dave was the living embodiment of the classic, American entrepreneurial spirit," said agency Chairman-CEO John B. Adams Jr. in a statement. "I had the great gift of seeing Dave and filming an interview with him recently for the agency archives. I asked him what wish he had for our employees today and for the people who will join our company in the years ahead. He said, 'Be true to yourself. If you're not true to yourself you have nothing.' He urged Martin employees to continue to produce advertising, in all its forms, that is different, vibrant and better."
Below is a tribute ad that the Martin Agency created to celebrate its founder.