March 9 at age 77
Robert "Bob" Alter helped make cable into a successful ad-supported medium by starting the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau. He served as the CAB's first president-CEO from 1980-91, and his last CAB title was vice chairman. CAB originally provided a platform for the then-fledgling medium of cable TV to prove itself to advertisers, as other ad outlets-especially broadcast-were casting doubt on cable as a truly mass medium. Most recently, Mr. Alter's consulting work included a project to expand cable in China.
William P. Croasdale
Jan. 30 at age 77
A career that spanned three decades made William P. Croasdale a legend in media buying. He was the top national broadcast-TV buyer at several shops, starting at McCann Erickson in 1970. Twelve years later he joined BBDO, and from there went to start-up Backer & Spielvogel. Mr. Croasdale joined Western International Media in 1991. That agency was later acquired by Initiative, where Mr. Croasdale was president-national TV programming, North America. Advertising Age named Mr. Croasdale a Media Maven Lifetime Achievement honoree in 1999.
Feb. 2 at age 87
Jo Foxworth started at McCann Erickson, New York, as a copywriter in 1955 and eventually rose to VP, breaking new ground in an era when men ruled major accounts. She started her own agency, Jo Foxworth Inc., in 1968. Ms. Foxworth, raised in Mississippi, promoted the role of women and African-Americans in advertising. She wrote a column for Advertising Age, and her first book was titled "Boss Lady." The American Advertising Federation inducted Ms. Foxworth into its Hall of Fame in 1996.
Jan. 10 at age 86
Call him colorful, or even eccentric, but you also have to call Sidney Frank the person who almost single-handedly created the pricing-up strategy that still drives the liquor industry. He started Sidney Frank Importing and built on the popularity of J„germeister liqueur, broadening its appeal beyond college students. His second big hit was Grey Goose, which became the best-selling premium vodka in the U.S. Seven years after launching Grey Goose, Mr. Frank sold the brand to Bacardi for $2 billion.
March 27 at age 51
Ken Kaess was the handpicked successor of Keith Reinhard as president-CEO of DDB Worldwide. Mr. Kaess died after a six-month battle with cancer. Mr. Kaess got his start at Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1976, and other posts there included president of DDB Entertainment and DDB North American president. Mr. Kaess was the first American Association of Advertising Agencies chairman to serve two consecutive terms. He was also a key figure in the creation of Advertising Week in New York.
Oct. 24 at age 57
Bernice Kanner died as she lived-as a writer immersed in the world of advertising and media. Ms. Kanner suffered an aneurysm during a meeting with Carat Americas CEO David Verklin; the two were co-authoring a book on media. Ms. Kanner began her career as a journalist covering Madison Avenue as a senior editor at Advertising Age. At the time of her death, Ms. Kanner was editor in chief of WomensBiz.US, a monthly magazine. She wrote the weekly "On Madison Avenue" column in New York for 13 years.
June 28 at age 81
Everyone talks about globalization, but the man who's credited with coining the term is Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt. Mr. Levitt, who joined the Harvard faculty in 1959, transformed marketing by urging companies to view their businesses more broadly. In unveiling the concept of globalization in 1983, Mr. Levitt urged marketers to expand beyond a local perspective and take advantage of advances in technology by offering the same products everywhere at lower prices due to scale.
Aug. 24 at age 66
Over three decades, Arthur Schiff wrote 1,800 direct-response TV commercials credited with selling more than $2 billion in merchandise. Among those products were Ginsu knives, given that name by Mr. Schiff. His copy had a knack for reaching beyond direct ad pitches and becoming part of the popular argot, with lines including: "But wait! There's more!"; "Isn't that amazing?"; and "Now, how much would you pay?" In 1983, Mr. Schiff started his own shop, Direct Response Associates. His wife, Barbara Zucker, was a partner.
July 10 at age 88
As VP-advertising at Lever Bros., Sam Thurm helped break down racial barriers and devoted countless hours in the service of his industry. He's also known for the quote: "With no ads, who would pay for the media? The good fairy?" At Mr. Thurm's direction, Lever in 1963 pushed its shops to use minorities more effectively and was one of the first major advertisers to feature minorities in commercials. Mr. Thurm served as chairman of the American Advertising Federation, Advertising Research Foundation and Association of National Advertisers.
William B. Ziff Jr.
Sept. 8 at age 76
In 1953, at the age of 23, William B. Ziff Jr. took over the magazine-publishing house his father co-founded in 1927. The company expanded with titles including PC Magazine, MacWeek and Electronic Gaming Monthly. Mr. Ziff sold most of the company's consumer and business magazines in 1984, and future growth centered on the computer titles. When the family sold 95% of Ziff Davis Publishing in 1994, it walked away with $1.4 billion. Mr. Ziff was awarded the industry's Henry Johnson Fisher lifetime-achievement award in 1992.