|Inducted today into the Hall of Fame: Katharine Graham and Charles Peebler (top); Hal Riney and John Smale (bottom).
The new inductees were Katharine Graham, former chairman-CEO of The Washington Post Co.; Charles D. Peebler Jr., chairman emeritus of True North Communications; Hal Riney, chairman-CEO of Publicis & Hal Riney; and John Smale, retired chairman-CEO of Procter & Gamble Co. and former chairman of General Motors Corp.
Now in its 53rd year, the Hall of Fame is administered for the industry by the AAF. Each of its inductees receives a "Golden Ladder" trophy, which carries the inscription "If we can see further, it is because we stand on the rungs of a ladder built by those who came before us."
Mrs. Graham was honored posthumously, and her son, Donald Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co., accepted the award on her behalf. Mrs. Graham was the first woman to serve as the head of a Fortune 500 company.
Daniel Burke, retired president-CEO of Capital Cities/ABC, presented the award, noting that "we will never know how many women Kay inspired."
"Kay Graham was a person who believed journalistic excellence and long-term business success are two sides of the same coin," Mr. Burke said. "It was this belief that brought her success."
Mr. Graham told attendees his mother knew the only way to build a great media organization was to do it in partnership with advertisers, and because his mother was unfailingly polite, he was sure that she would want to say thank you to all the advertisers who helped her build the company.
Charles D. Peebler Jr.
Mr. Peebler, described as a "dedicated architect of communications industry powerhouses" was introduced by Peter Lund, former president-CEO of CBS, who recounted one of Mr. Peebler's most humbling early account losses.
While the president of Bozell & Jacobs, Omaha, Mr. Peebler was flown in by the account and creative team to help at the final meeting with the South Dakota governor to pitch for the state's tourism account. Mr. Peebler's job was to introduce the team and emphasize how much the agency would value winning the business. The entire team was shown the door after Mr. Peebler mispronounced the name of state capital Pierre in his opening remarks.
However, from there he went on to build Bozell -- the agency that made pork "the other white meat" and slapped milk mustaches on celebrities -- into the eighth-largest ad agency with billings over $550 million at the time of the True North merger.
"As a boy from the heartland, I'm humbled to be included in the company of Kay Graham, Hal Riney and John Smale," Mr. Peebler told attendees, adding that "I've always thought an agency is a reflection of the clients it serves, and we served some of the best."
Mr. Riney was introduced by John Elliot, chairman emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather, who said Mr. Riney is a man "who believes understatement
Mr. Elliot then quoted David Ogilvy, who helped Mr. Riney's early career: "Hal Riney is one of the most talented people working in advertising today, and he is far better than I was at my best." However, Mr. Elliot told attendees, "David was given to overstatement."
Mr. Riney, upon accepting the award, said he was honored to be one of 153 inductees in the Hall of Fame, given "that since I started my career a million people have come and gone in advertising, or maybe that was just in my agency." He chose advertising as a career, in part because of his father, who was at various times a musician, artist and writer, but never quite good enough to make a go at any one of them. "I asked several people what job could a person do who was not quite good enough at a variety of things and still succeed, and they all suggested advertising."
Mr. Smale was honored for being a major proponent of the power of advertising to build brands. He noted his favorite times during his career involved working with agencies to create great advertising.
"To know the pleasure and excitement of articulating a unique proposition of a product, and watch that positioning lead to growth," he said.
Mr. Smale also told attendees, "Great advertising works and it's a thrill to receive this honor from people who know."