Having one's name on the door is not a requisite nor is heading a major advertiser. Shaping the course of advertising history is.
And so the legends of the industry are obvious. In the triumvirate of greats, Bill Bernbach is the hands-down winner, taking the No. 1 honor for devising the creative yardstick by which most advertising today is measured. Marion Harper Jr. follows for his creation of the agency network system. Leo Burnett takes the No. 3 spot for giving birth to advertising's most memorable and effective icons.
Purists may quibble about some of the placements. Indeed, ranking Harper above David Ogilvy, for example, could be debated ad nauseum. Still, there's little disputing that both belong in advertising's top 10 pantheon.
With impact as our barometer, there are some on the list with more controvertial contributions. Al Achenbaum, the former agency executive who as a consultant later hammered away at the industry's 15% media commission, and Robert Jacoby, whose $110 million windfall from the sale of Ted Bates Worldwide still hovers over some advertisers' agency pay decisions, aren't heroes but their influence is manifest.
Then there are some less predictable inclusions. Dick Lord, for one, whose symbolic war of independence against Martin Sorrell in the buyout frenzy of the 1980s, foreshadowed the ensuing battles between independent agencies and behemoth holding companies. And though the list primarily focuses on admakers, there are marketers and media makers, and even those tangential to the industry, such as Michael Ovitz and Michael Jordan. There's retailer John Wanamaker, who lands in the top 10 for hiring the industry's first full-time copywriter, and Apple Computer creator Steve Jobs, whose close relationship with agency creative Lee Clow resulted in continued breakthrough, award-winning work.
As for the messengers of the message, everyone from Bill Paley, who helped usher in TV's golden age, to Henry Luce, for his creation of a magazine empire, to Steve Case, whose America Online provides a new vehicle for advertising in the next millennium, gets their due. Worthy all.
1: William Bernbach (1911-1982)
Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York
"I warn you against believing that advertising is a science." -- Bill Bernbach
After Bill Bernbach's death in October 1982, Harper's told its readers he "probably had a greater impact on American culture than any of the distinguished writers and artists who have appeared in the pages of Harper's during the past 133 years." Sixteen years later, Bernbach's impact continues undiminished. And today he emerges as No. 1 on Advertising Age's 20th century honor roll of advertising's most influential people.
Was it only yesterday that a "new" Volkswagen Beetle campaign appeared, one that proudly recalls its Bernbach lineage? Talked to advertising's creative stars lately? Or their mentors? It is still, "Bernbach, Bernbach, Bernbach." His influence is alive and well and ready to help lead the industry through the 21st century.
"Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula." -- Bill Bernbach
As the single most influential creative force in advertising's history, Bernbach served as an inspiring father figure to some of advertising's most brilliant talents. His copywriters and art directors lived for his approval, competed to make his blue eyes sparkle, to produce work that would earn a Bernbachian smile. "What did Bill think?" was the question his Doyle Dane Bernbach people and clients would ask when new work was shown. Bernbach ruled.
From June 1949, when DDB opened its doors, until leukemia claimed him, Bernbach "edited" with inspired assurance, with arrogance ("You can't do this job if you're not arrogant," he said), with an open door, but without tantrum spikes. He had devised his art-copy team concept at Grey Advertising and brought to DDB a low-key, focused and dedicated management style that produced, along with pride, brilliant campaigns. The work endeared itself without resorting to advertising's cutesy-poo gimmickry or cuddly icons.
Bernbach, a conservative in his dress and manner -- some considered him a "square" surrounded by a world of hip -- would focus instead on richly empathic adult, fresh and relevant ideas. Unpretentious ideas. And the craftmanship would always be beautiful, as close to perfect as humanly possible. While examining an already short block of copy, Bernbach might say, "Make it a half-line shorter." He would toss off a headline and ask one of his creative stars to write "all the little words." It was UBA: the University of Bernbach Advertising.
"Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it." -- Bill Bernbach
When DDB came along, the TV commercial landscape was filled with devices and lively gimmicks. There were brain-pounding hammers for Anacin, Speedy Alka-Seltzer doll antics and dancing cigarettes for Lucky Strike and Old Gold. Enter DDB and an era of creative energy unknown since Ray Rubicam's Young & Rubicam explosive work of the 1920s. Bernbach insisted on first learning how his client's products related to their users, what human qualities and emotions came into play. Then the challenge turned to deciding how best to communicate those elements, in TV and print, and capture the consumer's understanding and support.
This is the process that spawned a new genre of TV commercials: Volkswagen's "Funeral" and "Snow plow" stories; "Mamma mia" and "Poached oyster" for Alka-Seltzer; "Visit to Grandpa" plus Laurence Olivier for Polaroid; "Italian wedding" for Rheingold beer; "Mikey" for Life cereal; "Gorilla" for American Tourister luggage; "Card game" and "Sharing," with Jack Gilford, for Cracker Jack; "Burning egg" for GTE; and stop-motion "Contrasts" for Jamaica Tourist Board. This latter technique from art director Bob Gage would shatter Hollywood's hold on the TV commercial "look." DDB's reel became an awesome advertising engine.
"Logic and over-analysis can immobilize and sterilize an idea. It's like love -- the more you analyze it, the faster it disappears." -- Bill Bernbach
Bernbach's leadership maintained a consistent tonal quality. For VW, starting with the efforts of Helmut Krone, writer Julian Koenig and Bernbach, there were 10 writer/art director teams on the account, and all matched VW factory philosophy with DDB advertising philosophy.
DDB also spawned new creative agencies, as George Lois, Julian Koenig, Ron Rosenfeld, John Noble, Mary Wells, David Herzbrun, Ed Vellanti, Roy Grace and Paula Green, among others, took the plunge. Some left and returned, among them Helmut Krone.
In print, VW's "Think Small" ad challenged our acquisitive tendencies even as the "ugly" Beetle became the first successful import car and the ad campaign altered advertising for all time.
For Polaroid, there was one triumph after another, including a tight closeup of Louis Armstrong so riveting that no headline or logo was needed to support its six lines of copy.
"There are few things more destructive than an unsound idea persuasively expressed." -- Bill Bernbach
A Bronx boy who graduated from New York University (B.A., '32) during the Depression, Bernbach felt lucky when he found a mailroom job at Schenley Distillers. There he met Grover Whalen, Schenley's chairman as well as New York's "official greeter" and prominent adclub officer, who soon took the bright young man under his wing. When Whalen left to oversee the 1939 New York World's Fair, Bernbach went with him as a staff writer. He parlayed this experience into a copywriter job, at age 30, with the old William Weintraub agency. In those days, copywriters tended to look down on art directors, but Bernbach didn't know that. When he met legendary designer Paul Rand, the agency's art director, the young copywriter was profoundly impressed. They would visit art galleries and museums during lunch breaks, and talk about art and copy working in harmony. Bernbach understood how such collaborations could liberate agency creative work.
When he joined Grey Advertising in 1945, he rose quickly from copywriter to copy chief to VP-creative director, and teamed Phyllis Robinson with Bob Gage, another Rand disciple, in order to perfect his new copy/art "team" concept. Bernbach feared that Grey's growth would lessen its appetite for "inspiring" work, so he began talking to VP-account supervisor Ned Doyle and Herb Strauss about opening a new agency. When Strauss dropped out (he later became Grey president), Doyle recruited Maxwell Dane, his friend and former Look associate. Doyle Dane Bernbach opened in Dane's 350 Madison Ave. space with Gage, Robinson and a half-dozen others. Doyle ran the account side; Dane, the consummate manager, ran the business/personnel side. And both stayed out of Bernbach's way.
"Research can trap you into the past." -- Bill Bernbach
During his 33 years with DDB, when the agency achieved $1.2 billion in billings, Bernbach saw it change the dynamics of advertising and America's cultural landscape. Krone said, at Bernbach's death, "He elevated advertising to high art and our jobs to a profession."
Bernbach's advocacy of advertising as art was grounded in the radical notion that the public had to be respected. Underlying respect would encourage favorable reactions to intelligent and imaginative advertising.
Its leader's death eventually led to an agency breakdown and, in 1986, DDB merged with Keith Reinhard's Needham Harper Worldwide to become part of the new Omnicom Group, which would also include Allen Rosenshine's BBDO Worldwide. Nevertheless, because Bernbach's spirit survives, DDB's 37-year life span provides a strong foundation for advertising's continued progress in the 21st century. He still inspires many a dream-filled creative journey.
2: Marion Harper Jr. (1916-1989)
Interpublic Group of Cos., New York
Arguably the agency world's most innovative empire builder of the 20th century, Harper, a Yale graduate, began in McCann-Erickson's mailroom in 1939, focused on the research department and became copy research manager in '42. After serving as assistant to founder and President H.K. McCann, Harper in 1948 succeeded McCann. He stepped up motivation research and ad pretesting techniques, began acquiring agencies and by 1961 "turned the ladder horizontal," creating Interpublic Group of Cos., a conglomerate operating separate (and conflict-free) agency divisions along with one-stop, integrated collateral services. Harper's reckless spending, however, led Interpublic directors to oust him in 1967. Harper was belatedly added to the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1998.
3: Leo Burnett (1892-1971)
Leo Burnett Co., Chicago
Although rumpled, overweight Leo Burnett hardly embodied the "adman" image, his copy always impressed. Taught by Theodore MacManus at General Motors Corp., Burnett, a Michigan native, imbued copy with the product's "inherent drama" through warmth, shared emotions and experiences. He left Erwin, Wasey, Chicago, in '35 to open an agency that spawned a distinctive "Chicago school," i.e., sentimental ads drawn from heartland-rooted values. He created such evocative icons as the Jolly Green Giant, Pillsbury Doughboy, Charlie the Tuna and Tony the Tiger. His Marlboro campaign, a legendary example of advertising's power to build a global business, ultimately became a magnet for legislative crackdowns on tobacco marketing.
4: David Ogilvy (1911-)
Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York
A self-described "advertising classicist" influenced by Claude Hopkins, John Caples and Raymond Rubicam, Ogilvy emphasized fact-based, long copy to advance Albert Lasker's salesmanship-in-print philosophy. Ogilvy's agency, opened in 1948, created clean, powerful ads marked by graceful, sensible copy and a palpable respect for the consumer's intelligence. His post-war creative bursts memorably served Hathaway shirts, Shell Oil, Sears, KLM, American Express, International Paper, IBM, Schweppes tonic, Rolls-Royce and Pepperidge Farm. Ogilvy pioneered a fee system, as opposed to commissions. During the "creative revolution" in 1961, the Copywriters Hall of Fame selected him as one of its first inductees.
5: Rosser Reeves (1910-1984)
Ted Bates & Co., New York
Picking up where the no-nonsense "advertising must sell" preachings of John E. Kennedy and Claude Hopkins left off, Reeves' mid-century Unique Selling Proposition concept focused on driving home a central, research-based selling point. A copywriter at a Virginia bank, Reeves moved to New York, worked at various agencies and in 1940 joined Bates. Reeves meshed USP and repetition to drive Viceroy, Anacin, Carter's Little Liver Pills, Listerine and Colgate toothpaste sales. In 1952, his spot TV approach was adapted to help elect Dwight Eisenhower president of the U.S., thereby changing American political campaigns. His 1961 best-seller, "Reality in Advertising," made Reeves, David Ogilvy's brother-in-law, an advertising standard-bearer.
6: John Wanamaker (1838-1922)
Advertising's highest standards at the beginning of the 20th century were embodied by John Wanamaker, whose Philadelphia and New York department stores pioneered fixed prices and money-back guarantees with honest, consistent ad support. A religious man who refused to advertise on Sundays, he hired the great John E. Powers in 1880 as the first full-time (and highly paid) department store copywriter. Their stormy personal relationship succeeded on the professional level because Powers staunchly upheld Wanamaker's marketing philosophy. Wanamaker also reformed the U.S. postal system while serving as Postmaster General (1889-93) in the administration of President Benjamin Harrison and was president of the YMCA from 1870-83. Wanamaker is also remembered in the advertising business for turning a phrase still talked about today: "Half my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half."
7: William Paley (1901-1990)
CBS, New York
Although Paley's CBS trailed David Sarnoff's NBC Radio Network in entertainment programming, once TV arrived in post-war America, Paley was ready. He hired agency executives to set up a CBS programming department that would take away program development responsibilities from ad agencies. Paley then converted 36 popular CBS Radio shows to TV and gave Lucille Ball her "I Love Lucy" series. Agencies eventually went along with the new dynamic. Paley signed Ball, Jackie Gleason, Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan and Mary Tyler Moore; supported CBS News' Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, William Shirer and Howard K. Smith; and saw CBS-TV acquire its "Tiffany network" luster that came to symbolize TV's golden age.
8: Maurice Saatchi (1946-) and Charles Saatchi (1943- )
Saatchi & Saatchi, London
With the award-winning London agency they opened in September 1970, "the" brothers went on a 16-year acquisition spree that created the world's largest marketing conglomerate and permanently altered and redefined the U.S. advertising landscape. The Saatchis' unprecedented U.S. invasion and acquisition frenzy, essentially driven by a compulsion to be No. 1, involved dozens of companies, including Backer & Spielvogel, Compton Advertising, Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample and Ted Bates Worldwide, as well as research, PR, sales promotion and consultancy firms. And the brothers' financial officer, Martin Sorrell, would split off in '86 to create WPP Group, acquire J. Walter Thompson Co. in '87 and build a rival marketing network. In 1995, Saatchi directors rebelled against the brothers' lavish spending and ousted them from the troubled multibillion-dollar publicly held company. The brothers Saatchi thereupon created M&C Saatchi -- a small London-based agency -- while Saatchi & Saatchi survived, and WPP Group grew to be one of the top three holding companies.
9: Albert Lasker (1880-1952)
Lord & Thomas, Chicago
Fourteen years after starting as a floor sweeper at Lord & Thomas in 1898, new-business whiz Lasker owned the company. Preaching that advertising was "salesmanship in print," he clarified client account/creative partnerships, held firmly to the 15% commission, financed some campaigns for clients, scorned research and trained many future agency leaders. Lasker drove L&T to No. 1 rank, left in 1921 to serve in Washington, returned to a faltering agency in 1923, ruthlessly revived it, built Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Kotex and Kleenex businesses and created Lucky Strike cigarette ads aimed at women. In 1942, he sold his L&T holdings so that the shop could reopen -- in January 1943 -- carrying the name of the key executives in the agency's New York, Chicago and Los Angeles offices -- Foote, Cone & Belding.
10: Jay Chiat (1931- )
Chiat/Day, New York
A New Yorker, Chiat settled in California as a recruitment ad writer and in 1967 opened Chiat/Day with copywriter Guy Day. The agency gained fame as a West Coast creative gusher for its unique Apple Computer and Honda work. Chiat added research-based account planning, preached ideas rather than technique, pioneered (and later abandoned) the virtual office, utilized satellites and interactive video, helped found the Advertising Industry Emergency Fund and drove his agency to $1 billion-plus in billings by the '90s. C/D's "breakthrough" Apple Macintosh commercial, "1984" -- created by art director Lee Clow, written by Steve Hayden and directed by Ridley Scott -- won every industry honor and award. Chiat also led efforts to bring minorities into advertising.
11: F. Wayland Ayer (1848-1923)
N.W. Ayer & Son, Philadelphia
He brought respect and broader influence to the advertising business with his "open contract" policy, whereby clients paid only an agency commission on Ayer-negotiated media rates. The "Son" in N.W. Ayer & Son, he upgraded Ayer to the world's first full-service shop by adding offices in major cities and a new-business department as well as hiring full-time copywriters and artists, all before 1910. He rejected alcoholic beverage and patent medicine accounts in order to build public understanding of advertising. His planning department centralized print media research for clients and prepared the nation's first institutional ad campaigns. Another Ayer innovation: Half-days on Saturdays.
12: Helmut Krone (1925-1997)
Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York
Think Beetle ads, those charming Volkswagen print ads of the '50s and '60s headlined, "Think small" and "Lemon." Clean, uncluttered, witty, alive, tasteful, intelligent, contemporary masterpieces from Doyle Dane Bernbach, with Julian Koenig's copy, art directed by Helmut Krone, the legendary "less is more" disciple. Krone sweated print details and advanced professionalism among creatives in his relentless pursuit of perfection. He joined DDB in his native New York in 1954, rose to creative director and was a perennial award winner as he revolutionized advertising's "look." His devoted following keeps his work and standards alive.
13: Neil McElroy (1904-1972)
Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati
In 1931, when Procter & Gamble had a one-page memo rule, McElroy wrote a three-pager that led to P&G's legendary brand-manager system and fostered intra-P&G brand rivalries. He later put the company into radio's daytime soap opera schedules, had P&G produce soaps for daytime TV and, with Howard Morgens (who succeeded him as ad manager), moved P&G into Sunday supplements and contest promotions. McElroy started at P&G in 1925 as an ad department mail clerk, became VP-advertising in 1943, then president in 1948. He also became the first adman to serve as a U.S. cabinet officer with his appointment as Dwight Eisenhower's secretary of defense (1957-60). McElroy was P&G's executive committee chairman at the time of his death.
14: Stanley Resor (1879-1964) and Helen Lansdowne Resor (1886-1964)
J. Walter Thompson Co., New York
Stanley Resor, the first major agency leader to boast a college degree (Yale), fashioned campaigns and brand names after lifestyles of the well-to-do. After hiring copywriter Helen Lansdowne in 1907 while at a small Cincinnati agency, Resor opened JWT's Cincinnati office with her the next year. When JWT became Procter & Gamble's first outside agency, Lansdowne became the first woman to "present" ads to P&G's board. In 1916, on being transferred to New York, Resor and his associates bought out Commodore Thompson for $500,000 and re-energized the agency. Married in 1917, the Resors were running the agency by 1924. He nominally handled clients and administration, she -- considered "the greatest copywriter of her generation" -- supervised creative and recruited women into advertising. Her Woodbury's facial soap ads ("The skin you love to touch") introduced sex appeal to ads. A founder of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Resor led JWT to No. 1 status by 1927; its was the first shop to break $100 million in billings.
15: Bruce Barton (1886-1967)
Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, New York
The future founder of BBDO first popularized the Harvard Classics "Five-Foot" bookshelf with his direct-response copy, discovered artist Norman Rockwell, wrote editorials for Redbook and, during World War I, worked on United War Work campaigns with copywriters Roy Durstine and Alex Osborn. They opened their ad agency in 1918, merging it in 1928 with George Batten Co. BBDO hired college grads capable of writing hard-hitting copy. Barton's 1925 best-seller, "The Man Nobody Knows," portraying Jesus Christ as salesman/adman, led to newspaper columns, other books and a political career. After surviving a sensational blackmail scandal, Barton returned to BBDO in 1940 to finish his career.
16: Martin Sorrell (1945- )
WPP Group, London
At Saatchi & Saatchi (1975-1986), Sorrell, "the third brother," designed and carried out Saatchi's legendary agency acquisitions. A Londoner with degrees in economics from Cambridge and Harvard universities, financial whiz Sorrell privately invested in WPP in 1985, a British wire shopping cart maker, and joined it full-time in '86. There he began to acquire "below-the-line" advertising-related companies and in '87 stunned the agency world with his $566 million "hostile" takeover of J. Walter Thompson Co. Sorrell followed this in '89 with another dramatic hostile $825 million buy of Ogilvy & Mather, and today stands atop one of the world's largest marketing service/advertising group with more than 40 companies in 83 nations.
17: Henry Luce (1898-1967)
Time-Life, New York
A child of missionaries, Luce left the Chicago Daily News in 1923 to start Time and, with it, launch his innovative, influential magazine career. Luce's weekly newsmagazine introduced terse, personality-based, attitudinal "new journalism." In 1930, his start-up Fortune (delayed by the 1929 stock market crash) introduced investigative, analytical, highly literate monthly articles that examined business-society issues. Life, arriving in 1936, was Luce's pioneering weekly that advanced photojournalism, printing, production and paper technology. His three periodicals, plus Sports Illustrated (1954), established Luce as America's most influential publisher of the century and formed the basis of today's Time Warner media empire.
18: Lee Clow (1942- )
TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.
Lee Clow emerged during the last quarter-century as successor to Doyle Dane Bernbach's Bob Gage as advertising's art director guru. With his low-key, casual manner belying his hard-work ethic, the bearded adman-in-flip-flops' leadership style has brought TBWA/Chiat/Day virtually every national and international award and honor, including Ad Age's Agency of the Decade (for the 1980s). The TBWA/Chiat/Day reel includes "1984" for the Apple Macintosh (the commercial that turned the NFL's Super Bowl Sunday into an Advertising Super Bowl) and Apple's comeback "Think different" campaign work, plus efforts for Nissan autos, Eveready batteries' "Energizer Bunny" series and Taco Bell. Like the Bunny, Clow's stellar work keeps on going and going.
19: Mary Wells Lawrence (1928- )
Wells, Rich, Greene, New York
The world's highest-paid female executive and advertising's first international superstar, Ohio-native Mary Wells Lawrence generated Hollywood-scale media buzz for years. Her glamour, lifestyle, taste and advertising legend status stemmed from her achievements during the '60s and '70s at McCann-Erickson, Doyle Dane Bernbach and Interpublic's Jack Tinker & Partners. Her TV breakthroughs for Alka-Seltzer and Braniff Airways led to the April 1966 creation of Wells, Rich, Greene with Stew Greene, Dick Rich and the Braniff account. Mary Wells Lawrence (she married Braniff chief Harding Lawrence) took WRG public and added to WRG's legacy with the "I love New York" and Benson & Hedges 100s' cigarette campaigns.
20: Alfred Sloan (1875-1966)
General Motors Corp.,
After selling his Hyatt Roller Bearing Co. to a struggling General Motors in 1916 and assuming the GM presidency, this trained draftsman installed his revolutionary "standard procedures" concept. His market-oriented rules for defining management effectiveness enabled GM to overtake Henry Ford's auto company. Sloan's experiences, theories and personal customer-based research inspired marketing strategy and led to the separate Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac lines aimed at different consumer pocketbooks and tastes. Through his customer-oriented management philosophy and labor policies, Sloan's GM became a symbol of U.S. industrial leadership.
21: John Caples (1900-1990)
Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, New York
For more than 50 years, John Caples served as one of advertising's most effective copywriters. Caples mastered results-oriented mail-order copy at Ruthrauff & Ryan, where he wrote, arguably, the 20th century's most successful such ad: "They laughed when I sat down at the piano -- but when I started to play!" The U.S. School of Music ad dramatically exemplified Caples' belief that people yearn to be carefree and popular. As a teacher, lecturer and writer, he stressed simplicity and "getting to the point quickly." He joined what became Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn in 1927, where he served almost to the end of his days.
22: Dan Wieden (1945- ) and David Kennedy (1940- )
Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
American advertising's creative mainstream coursed away from the New York-Chicago-Los Angeles axis in the '80s as telecommunications technology dissolved distance barriers. Wieden & Kennedy, founded in 1982 in Portland, Ore., emerged as the creative magnet for this change. Dan Wieden's shop won awards by living on the edge of controversy with irreverent work. Eschewing research and traditional elements, Wieden produced breakthrough work for Pepe jeans, Subaru, Nike, Honda motorcycles, Microsoft, ESPN and TV Guide, and more advertisers, and agency creatives, "discovered" the Northwest.
23: Howard Luck Gossage (1917-1969)
Freeman, Mander & Gossage, San Francisco
A copywriter who influenced admakers worldwide, Gossage drifted into advertising at age 36 in San Francisco and opened his agency in 1957 to create riveting "conversations" with consumers. Gossage's copy served Land Rover, Scientific American's International Paper Airplane Competition, Eagle shirts, Paul Masson wines, KLH audio equipment, Beethoven sweatshirts, the Sierra Club, Qantas Airways, Rainier brewery and Petrofina Oil Co. Even David Ogilvy loved the Gossage' headline "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Land Rover comes from the roar of the engine."
24: Shirley Polykoff (1908-1998)
Foote, Cone & Belding, New York
Her copy for Clairol built the hair-coloring industry. Considering copy to be a "direct conversation with the consumer," she suggestively asked in 1956, "Does she . . . or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure," and "Is it true blondes have more fun?" Clairol sales increased by 413% in six years as more than 50% of U.S. adult women began using hair color, up from 7%. A mom from Brooklyn with retail copy experience, she became Foote, Cone & Belding's lone woman copywriter in 1955 and was assigned to Clairol because it was felt only she would understand the product. Polykoff considered herself "just an articulate consumer in the client's offices."
25: Joyce Hall (1891-1982)
Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Mo.
The quality standards Hall applied to brand-naming his greeting cards would later rub off on network TV through "The Hallmark Hall of Fame" specials that began airing in 1951. Pre-Hall, greeting cards were commodity items, deemed unsuited for branding because card "names" were hidden. A printer-engraver in Kansas City, Hall used point-of-purchase card displays, created "sending situations" and turned to radio in 1938 to establish his brand. In 1944, Foote, Cone & Belding's warm commercials in compatible TV specials established the slogan, "When you care enough to send the very best." Hall then leveraged the