Creative legend Dusenberry Dies

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Phil Dusenberry, former chairman of BBDO and the creative force behind some of North America's best known advertising passed away December 29 in New York.

Dusenberry is known for creating big, entertaining and emotionally appealing ads, and for ushering in the era of celebrity-driven spots. The Brooklyn native joined BBDO as a copywriter in 1962, becoming chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO New York in 1986 and then chairman of BBDO North America—a post he held until his retirement in 2002.

Then we set his hair on fire..Dusenberry and Michael Jackson
Then we set his hair on fire..Dusenberry and Michael Jackson
Dusenberry oversaw the rise of BBDO as a creative power and drove the creation of legendary campaigns for GE ("We Bring Good Things to Life") and Pepsi ("The Choice of a New Generation"), famously enlisting celebrities like Michael Jackson and Madonna as commercial stars for the latter. It was, of course, a notorious incendiary incident on the set of a 1984 Jackson spot that inspired the title of Dusenberry's well-received 2005 book, "Then We Set His Hair On Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall of Fame Career in Advertising."

Dusenberry led the team that created the post-9/11 "New York Miracle" campaign that featured New York celebrities like Woody Allen as well as spearheading the Ad Council's Freedom Corps and more recent "Don't Almost Give" campaigns. He was also a member of "The Tuesday Team" that helped re-elect Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Dusenberry and Reagan
Dusenberry and Reagan
Dusenberry was inducted into the AAF Hall of Fame in 2003 and The One Club Creative Hall of Fame this year. Read more on Dusenberry's creative career at

A wake will be held Thursday evening, January 3rd and the afternoon and evening of January 4th at the Frank E Campbell Funeral Home, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street in Manhattan. A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, January 5 at 1pm at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish at 980 Park Avenue at 84th Street in Manhattan.

Donations may be made in Dusenberry's name to the Coalition for the Homeless (129 Fulton Street New York, NY 10038) or to St. Jude Children's Cancer Research Hospital (501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105).
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