The Boston native began his career as a fiction writer, and also worked as a newspaper reporter before moving into advertising. Early jobs included a stint as an advertorial writer for Lebhar-Friedman Publications. Silverman joined Mullen (the agency was called Superfine Productions at the time—Silverman later pursuaded Mullen to change the name) in 1973, four years after Jim Mullen launched the agency in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The pair steered the nascent shop along with third founding partner, COO Joe Grimaldi, who is now the agency's CEO.
Over the course of the next 26 years, Silverman's work, particularly in the print medium, established him as a seminal copywriting talent and helped put Mullen on the creative map, regionally and then nationally. During Silverman's tenure, the agency gained acclaim for its work on Smartfood, Timberland and BMW, an account it landed in 1993.
Shortly after IPG bought the agency in 1999, Silverman handed creative duties to current Mullen CCO Edward Boches.
"Paul was simply brilliant," said Grimaldi in a statement. "He was one of the key people who made Mullen a nationally ranked and internationally recognized agency."
After he retired in 2002, Silverman returned to fiction, publishing numerous short stories in online and print journals. You can read his fiction work on paulsilverman.com.
"Paul Silverman was the smartest person I ever knew as well as the key creator of our agency's creative culture," said Jim Mullen in a statement. "As Hamlet said of his father, 'He was a man, take him for all in all. We shall not look upon his like again.'"
Mullen is hosting a tribute to Silverman on its site.
Below, some of Silverman's creative legacy.