No stranger to controversy, fashion designer Calvin Klein received national attention this summer when the religious right, retailers, media and parents accused him of "kiddie porn" after he unveiled a youth-targeted jeans ad campaign that featured young models and implied more than was revealed.
The marketer spent a mere $6 million on TV, print and outdoor ads in limited markets. But media coverage spread these sexy images across the nation, garnering loads of free publicity.
The hype convinced teens the jeans must be cool, and product flew off the racks. Mr. Klein expects jeans sales will nearly double this year to $220 million from $115 million in 1994.
Michael Ovitz's professional life in 1995 rose and fell like the Matterhorn roller coaster in Disneyland. Now, as president of Walt Disney Co., the former Creative Artists Agency superagent runs that theme park-along with Disney's many other business segments.
Mr. Ovitz was the subject of a high-profile courtship from Seagram Co. to head its newly purchased MCA studio. After talks broke down in June and the job went to CAA colleague Ron Meyer, Mr. Ovitz jumped at the surprise offer of the Disney presidency.
Even though this move puts Mr. Ovitz in the unaccustomed position of reporting to someone-Disney Chairman Michael Eisner-it also puts him in charge of Disney's operating divisions: theme parks and resorts, filmed entertainment, licensing and the media outlets of Capital Cities/ABC, which is being acquired in a deal worth $19 billion.
The biggest news from this year's Major League Baseball spring training camps centered on someone who was leaving the sport. In March Michael Jordan, the basketball superstar who suddenly retired in 1993 and emerged as a minor-league baseball player the next year, opted to trade fastballs for fast breaks.
The return to the NBA of Mr. Jordan, one of advertising's most prolific endorsers, was marked with a flurry of marketer activity from companies such as Nike Inc., Sara Lee Corp.'s Hanes brand and Quaker Oats Co.'s Gatorade.
Mr. Jordan maintained a high profile last summer. He starred in a commercial for Rayovac Renewal batteries and made "Space Jam," a feature film with Warner Bros.' animated Looney Toons characters that's due in late 1996.
John Pepper Sometimes nice guys do finish first. Case in point: John Pepper, who at 56 finally landed the job of his dreams.
Last July, Mr. Pepper succeeded Ed Artzt as chairman-CEO of Procter & Gamble Co. Success was all the sweeter considering that Mr. Pepper, formerly P&G president, had been passed over for the top job five years ago.
Mr. Pepper is charged with picking up where his predecessor left off-building strong volume growth, which results in excellent profitability for P&G. That means continued focus on growth outside the U.S., with the heady goal of becoming a $50 billion company by the year 2000 and of doubling unit volume over the next 10 years.
When General Motors Corp. hired an outsider-former Bausch & Lomb Corp. President-COO Ronald Zarrella-for its top marketing job, it indicated the company was serious about a major revamp.
Focusing on brand building, Mr. Zarrella, GM's VP and group exec in charge of North American sales, service and marketing, became the point man for a bold overhaul of the way GM develops and brings products to market.
Beginning Jan. 1, GM will install a brand management based in part on how many package goods companies operate. The 36 new GM brand managers, some of them coming from outside the auto industry, will have broad responsibility to oversee all aspects of marketing model brands.
Mary Lou Quinlan
Mary Lou Quinlan climbed aboard N W Ayer & Partners, New York, as the No.*2 exec in the summer of 1994. She and Chairman-CEO Steve Dworin sought to reinvigorate one of the oldest ad agency brands, 126-year-old Ayer.
They got off to a fast start, winning $20 million accounts from Avon Products and MetraHealth health plans. But the MetraHealth account disappeared in early 1995-as did Mr. Dworin, in May. Meanwhile, Ayer went from spring until fall without a creative director, finally filling the post with a West Coast wild card named Mark Fenske in September.
The big blow came in August, when 57-year client DeBeers Consolidated Mines dumped Ayer and moved its $35 million U.S. ad account to J. Walter Thompson Co., New York. Though Ayer retains blue-chip clients such as General Motors Corp., AT&T Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co., New York agency execs say Ayer is losing air.
Ms. Quinlan reacted defensively when DeBeers left, drawing battle lines with staffers offered jobs at JWT. Those who know her say she was vintage Mary Lou: She invests a lot of emotion, as well as effort, in her work.
Maurice Saatchi crammed a whole new career into 1995.
He hit the ground running after his ouster as chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Co. and set up rival agency New Saatchi, later renamed M&C Saatchi. He battled his former company over staff, clients and lawsuits-and consistently emerged the victor, most dramatically snatching the $90 million worldwide British Airways account from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.
He sent ripples through the ad industry when unpredictable client M&M/Mars, irritated at not being consulted over Mr. Saatchi's fate, retaliated by firing Bates Worldwide from $350 million of confectionery and pet-food business.
Newspaper Association of America president-CEO Cathleen Black will become the top-ranking woman in magazine publishing when she joins Hearst Magazines next year as its first woman president-CEO. She replaces Claeys Bahrenburg, who resigned in November.
Praised for her visibility and hands-on approach, Ms. Black will join Hearst, which made news by cutting rate bases and raising ad rates to fight rising paper costs, supporting 1995's circulation strategies. Prior to four years at NAA, she was publisher of USA Today, publisher of New York, and associate publisher of Ms.
One thing she said to watch from her in 1996: plans to "explore new media in more aggressive ways."
John Kennedy Jr.
"I think we've busted the notion that advertisers aren't interested in politics," said John Kennedy Jr., editor-in-chief of George, the much-hyped political magazine that made its debut last autumn.
The debut issue, with Cindy Crawford on the cover, was a virtual sellout of all 500,000 copies on the newsstand. With 175 ad pages, George, backed by Hachette Filipacchi, shattered the old record set by Vanity Fair for a magazine launch. George pulled in another 175 ad pages for its second issue.
The son of a president initially chose to break his months of silence with an exclusive interview in Ad Age that appeared on Sept. 5. Three days later, a press conference drew more than 300 reporters-and marked the start of an international press onslaught.
Gerald Levin limped into 1995 a beleaguered media mogul who, some believed, was living on borrowed time as chairman-CEO of Time Warner. A year later, Mr. Levin is solidly in control of what a megamerger later is still the world's largest entertainment and media conglomerate.
The year began with Mr. Levin, 56, receiving intense heat from shareholders to improve the company's financial performance and demonstrate a clear strategic path. On top of that, Sen. Robert Dole was attacking Time Warner's movie and music content. And in summer came the announcement of the Disney-Capital Cities/ABC merger, which would make it the biggest media conglomerate.
Mr. Levin's response was to acquire Turner Broadcasting System in a $7.5 billion all-stock deal, putting Time Warner and Mr. Levin back on top. Shareholders reacted positively to the deal, which added such prized jewels as Turner's CNN and Cartoon Network.
Then in mid-November, Mr. Levin fired Michael Fuchs, Home Box Office chairman, head of the Warner Music Group and a rival of Mr. Levin. Replacing him were Levin supporters and co-CEOs of the Warner Bros. studio, Robert Daly and Terry Semel.