HARPER DESERVES HALL

Published on .

I was shocked to learn that Marion Harper Jr. is not in the Advertising Hall of Fame. He most certainly should be.

Marion was a bold, daring and brilliant innovator. Just during my tenure at McCann-Erickson (1950-1960) he did all of the following:

Invented the idea of a holding company with multiple agencies (Interpublic) in order to be able to handle conflicts.

Established a creative think tank, housed separately, and presided over by another genius, Jack Tinker. Among those nurtured there was Mary Wells.

Invented the idea of annual off-campus seminars for his top executives, to freshen and invigorate their thinking. I will never forget trying to solve his nine-dot square, and learning thus to think beyond the usual parameters.

Established a separate research company, MARPLAN, to make a profit from research that other agencies were giving away.

Had the guts to resign an account, Chrysler, in order to take on the larger Buick account.

Was the first to promote women. He named the first women VPs at McCann: Margot Sherman, Solita Arbib and myself. So unusual was this that it made the front pages of the ad biz books.

Marion was hounded out of McCann-Erickson, the agency he had built. He was the father of innovations, but he never got the credit he deserved.

Virginia Miles

Marketing consultant

Englewood, N.J.

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