However, it spawned an extraordinary group. Fred Mitchell, Dick Bowman, Toni Robin, Leo Kelmenson and I went on to become CEOs at Erwin Wasey, Marschalk, Johnstone, Kenyon & Eckhardt and McCann-Erickson Worldwide.
Among others, Gerry Shapiro eventually became president and CEO of Hertz; Kitty D'Alessio was appointed president of Chanel; Gerry Bissinger became president of Wall Street's Lebenthal Co.; Wally Bregman was elected CEO of International Playtex; Marvin Antonowski left to head programming at NBC.
And what a superb group of talent it was for NCK! It produced the following campaigns:
"If it's the finest of its kind, it's by Revlon."
"I dreamed I went shopping in my Maidenform bra."
"Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat."
"Stronger than dirt" (the White Knight) for Ajax laundry detergent.
"Every woman alive loves Chanel No. 5."
"Versatile! Powerful. Virtually indestructible." for Willys Jeep.
(There are other people and other campaigns I may have unintentionally omitted.)
I believe Norman Norman had the ultimate ability of an agency's chief executive: to recognize great advertising in its embryo stage . . . when the consuming public has yet to embrace it, when the client hasn't yet bought it, when the people who ideate it don't perhaps know how good their campaign is or how great it can be.
Walter Craig had faith in some great TV shows in their infancy, and he worked creatively on them with their producers after he bought them for our clients.
Most people in the industry have forgotten my role as the third name on the masthead because of my subsequent tenure at McCann-Erickson Worldwide. However, I am sometimes reminded of it. For example, at a cocktail reception a few years ago, a young man wagged a finger at me and said: "Hey, didn't you used to be Gene Kummel?"
"Yes," I replied. "I used to be!"
Gene Kummel worked for New York agency Norman, Craig & Kummel from 1948 until 1965, when he moved to McCann-Erickson international, and was its president from 1966 to 1973. He then became chairman and CEO of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, a position he held until 1984, when he was named chairman of the executive committee. He was elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1987. Currently he serves as McCann-Erickson Worldwide's chairman emeritus.