NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Longtime advertising executive and former board chairman and director of the American Advertising Federation, Carl W. Nichols, died on Saturday in Vero Beach, Fla. following a brief illness. He was 87.
Mr. Nichols spent 40 years at the advertising agency Cunningham & Walsh, acquired by N.W. Ayer Inc. in 1986, later acquired by Publicis Groupe. Mr. Nichols served as CEO for more than half of his tenure at the agency, and under his leadership, the company grew to become one of the nation's top 25 advertising firms.
Campaigns the agency created Under Mr. Nichols' leadership include: "Let your fingers do the walking" for AT&T Corp.'s Yellow Pages; "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" for Anderson Clayton Food's Chiffon margarine; "Tastes as good as its name" for Old Milwaukee beer from Jos. Schiltz Brewing co.; the koala bear muttering, "I hate Qantas," for Qantas Airways; and Mr. . Olson, offering up a steaming cup of Folgers coffee. In 1974, Cunningham & Walsh was voted Advertising Age's "Agency of the Year."
In 1986, Mr. Nichols was elected into the Advertising Hall of Fame. His bio on the Hall of Fame website explains his life-long personal philosophy for successful advertising: "Tell people the truth -- with enthusiasm." He was also director of the Advertising Council and Secretary of the Advertising Educational Foundation. In 1976, he was awarded the Missouri Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism by the University of Missouri's School of Journalism.
Mr. Nichols grew up in Kansas City, Missouri; he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1944 and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. Mr. Nichols is survived by his wife, Anna, two sons and a daughter, as well as a step-son and two step-daughters.