Chiat/Day Co-Founder Guy Day Dies at 77

As President, Led Agency Responsible for Iconic Work for Apple, Absolut

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Guy Day, who co-founded the agency that went on to produce some of advertising's most iconic commercials, died in his sleep on Jan. 16. He was 77.

Guy Day
Guy Day
In 1968, Mr. Day merged the agency he was then running, Faust/Day, with Jay Chiat & Associates to create Chiat/Day. Mr. Day was the new agency's president, a title he famously told the Los Angeles Times was the result of a coin flip with Mr. Chiat.

The agency they founded went on to do work that, in some respects, revolutionized advertising. Its "1984" ad for Apple is often regarded as the first truly groundbreaking Super Bowl ad, a primary reason that 30-second spots in the game have since fetched as much as $3 million. And the iconic bottle campaign for Absolut essentially created the now-massive luxury imported vodka category in the U.S.

While the agency he built thrived, Mr. Day was, in particular, a major force in winning new business. But he remained a lower-profile figure than either Mr. Chiat or the agency's longtime creative chief, Lee Clow. And he is often recalled as a cool, collected counterpoint to Mr. Chiat. "Guy made me sane while Jay made me crazy," said Mr. Clow in a statement. "He taught me a lot of things -- like how to understand Jay. I probably wouldn't be here if it weren't for Guy."

That was a common sentiment. In one of several remembrances of Mr. Day on a Chiat/Day alumni blog, former agency production manager Sid Salinger said of Mr. Day: "He was even-tempered; quick to praise, and slow to criticize. Advertising agencies, by their very nature, are generally peopled by mercurial personalities. Guy's mind was lightning-quick, but his tongue was mannerly and controlled. He was in every sense of the word, a gentleman -- a gentle man."

Mr. Day retired from the agency in 1986. He later led new business for Los Angeles-based Keye/Donna/Pearlstein.

He is survived by his wife, Annette, three children and four grandchildren. A private family ceremony will be held through the Neptune Society.

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