As president of the Association of National Advertisers, Peter Allport witnessed, and participated in, four decades of advertising history before stepping down in 1984.
He was a mold-breaker. In an association traditionally led by men with long advertising experience, Mr. Allport had only a brief stint as an agency copywriter on his resume when he joined the ANA staff in 1945. As advertising turned the corner from wartime rigors and into the TV revolution of the 1950s, Mr. Allport rose through the ANA staff.
In 1960, this "association man," only 40 years old at the time, was tapped to be ANA's new president. Advertisers and the nation were then immersed in a new era of huge social and business change. Pete Allport proved unquestionably to be a wise choice.
Changing times put advertisers under a microscope. They were questioned, criticized, challenged and regulated in ways few would have imagined in 1960. And it was Pete Allport who helped advertisers find a course through the turmoil.
He was polished, erudite and a fighter. He reflected the opposition of ANA members to encroaching government controls on advertising, yet he and ANA gave strong support to the industry's national advertising self-regulation mechanism.
While he never lost sight of advertising's primary responsibility as a marketing tool, like Bart Cummings he was ready and willing to discuss-or debate-what advertising's larger social responsibilities might be.
The advertising business, forever in their debt, will have a brighter future only if today's ad industry leaders can negotiate their challenges with the intelligence, determination-and class-so steadfastly demonstrated by Pete Allport and Bart Cummings.