75 years of ideas

Published on .

Advertising Age is celebrating its first 75 years of service to the ad industry. We'll be sharing these moments in the pages of Ad Age on the way to the 75th anniversary issue appearing March 28. Next week: top ad moments No. 20-16.

25 Y&R's Whole Egg theory

An internal agency announcement made in 1972 by Ed Ney, then president of Y&R International, puts Young & Rubicam at the vanguard of industry practice on a topic that remains decades later much debated. Describing the agency's approach to offering integrated services-not just advertising but direct, PR, sales promotion and others-Mr. Ney refers to it as "the Whole Egg." During the mid-1970s, Y&R buys numerous companies specializing in non-consumer advertising marketing disciplines, such as healthcare communications shop Sudler & Hennessey and direct response agency Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline. The name and the concept catch on. In the three decades following the "Whole Egg's" introduction, Y&R revises its go-to-market strategy for integration several times. In the 1990s, for instance, the agency says its structure is "wired" to best deliver solutions, with the creation of teams to bring a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach. But the practice of integration, where one agency meets all of a client's needs, has been difficult to achieve: Compensation and turf battles have precluded a full embrace of one-stop-shopping.

24 Levittown opens; suburbs mushroom

Levittown is both a place and a symbol. Levittown the place is the 17,000-house cookie-cutter suburb that Bill Levitt starts building in October 1947 in a Long Island potato field. People who couldn't buy a home because of the housing shortage during World War II jump at a chance to buy their Shangri-la.

Levittown also is shorthand for the postwar mass suburbanization. By the mid-1950s, Levitt-style subdivisions are sprouting up across the country. The suburban population spurts by 43% between 1947 and 1953; it also holds a disproportionate amount of income. The concomitant rise in consumerism is a boon for marketers, as new homeowners load up on appliances, automobiles and other necessities for out-of-the-city living. While artists and social critics denounce the suburbs as soulless places-remember folk singer Pete Seeger droning on about "little boxes made of ticky tacky"?-they have become home to a powerful block of consumers.

23 Communications Act of 1934

With the passage of the Communications Act of 1934 in June and the creation of the Federal Communications Commission, all forms of communications are placed under one jurisdiction. The first seven-member FCC convenes in July 1934 and immediately signals to broadcasters and advertisers that it's willing to do business with commercial interests. In exchange for FCC favor, the networks and stations must make the commission look good by offering significant "public interest" fare. This comes out of the nets' own pockets for the most part through unsponsored public affairs and educational programs. But it's worth it because it preserves radio as an ad-supported medium.

The FCC generally limits itself to technical and antitrust matters. It decrees FM as the audio component of TV in 1939 and orders the breakup of NBC in 1943. Its "fairness doctrine" also helps make "balance" a hallmark of public issue coverage.

The judicial basis of FCC "indecency" censorship is laid in 1978 in FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation. The FCC acquires an intermediate censorship weapon in the form of fines (or threat of fines), which some believe today is as arbitrary as the concept of "indecency" itself. Seventy years after its founding, the FCC under Chairman Michael Powell finds itself a central player in the controversy over "values."

22 African-Americans enter ad industry

African-Americans establish an entrepreneurial presence in the advertising industry in the 1940s. In that decade, Vomack Advertising, in Inwood, N.Y., is established. In 1943, David Sullivan opens the Negro Market Organization in New York; also that year, Fusche, Young & Powell launches in Detroit. Other black-owned shops open: Former magazine illustrator Vince Cullers founds an agency in 1956 and wins acclaim for campaigns such as one for Johnson Products' Afro Sheen hair-care products.

Other black-owned agencies include Burrell Advertising in Chicago, Don Coleman Advertising in Southfield, Mich., and Mingo Chisholm and UniWorld Group in New York. Success varies: Burrell and Coleman in the 1990s sell to holding companies Publicis Groupe and True North Communications, respectively, while Mingo Chisholm in 2004 files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Oakland, Calif.-based independent Carol H. Williams Advertising, founded in 1986, expands to include offices in Chicago and Detroit; Byron Lewis founds UniWorld in 1969 because no white-led agency will hire him. He's still chairman-CEO of the shop, now 49%-owned by WPP Group.

Yet at large agencies, African-Americans' progress over the past half-century in reaching upper ranks is mixed. In the 1960s, an investigation by the New York City human rights commission finds that agencies' hiring and promotion of minorities lag other industries. In 2004, the commission again begins investigating agencies' minority employment record, spurred by charges that advertising hasn't kept pace with other categories such as financial services and law. In 2003, WPP's appointment of Ann Fudge to lead Young & Rubicam makes industry history, the first African-American woman to head a major agency. At Publicis, Starcom MediaVest Group boosts Renetta McCann to CEO of Starcom North America in 2004, making her one of the highest-ranking black females in media.

21 Nader and the era of consumer advocacy

Consumer activist Ralph Nader graduates from Princeton and later Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Mr. Nader gets interested in the auto industry and observes that car companies built for style and cost but focused little on safety.

Mr. Nader leaves college to become a lawyer in Hartford, Conn., but soon moves to Washington, D.C., as his interest in consumer advocacy grows. He moves from social critic to political activist. His 1965 book, "Unsafe at Any Speed," prompts new legislation in the National Traffic & Motor Vehicle Safety Act, passed the following year. He also helps influence numerous other pieces of legislation that protect consumers, taxpayers and the environment, including the Clean Air Act and the Freedom of Information Act. In 1971, Mr. Nader sets up Public Citizen, which spawns a number of consumer-oriented subgroups, or "Nader's Raiders."

contributing: james b. arndorfer, claire atkinson, john mcdonough, lisa sanders

MILESTONEs to date

75 Advertising Age launches

74 Birth of reality TV

73 Gannett launches USA Today

72 Food marketers consolidate

71 Motivational research emerges

70 RJR retires Old Joe

69 Action for Children's Television founded

68 Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act passed

67 Absolut vodka is launched

66 Townsend Brothers/copy testing

65 Edsel introduced

64 "A diamond is forever"

63 MCI competes with AT&T

62 Fox network debuts

61 Tampax starts educating women

60 LBOs shake up marketing world

59 Birth of Univision and Hispanic TV

58 Advertising Council formed

57 Reese's Pieces soar via "E.T."

56 Emergence of "positioning"

55 Compensation consultant at IBM

54 Mary Wells' WRG raises the bar

53 Census 2000: a wake-up call

52 Nike signs Michael Jordan

51 Marlboro Man saddles up

50 Buick ads back used cars

49 Beginnings of syndicated TV

48 Breaking ad talent race barrier

47 Universal Product Code unveiled

46 Bank of America charges ahead

45 J&J's Tylenol tampering case

44 Bubble bursts as dot-coms crash

43 'Star Wars' saga begins

42 Avis declares that it's No. 2

41 Gallup applies research skills

40 Cigs "hazardous to your health"

39 Ike's "Man from Abilene"

38 "Pepsi Generation," the cola wars

37 Nielsen tracks share of market

36 Beverages go "light-ly"

35 Apple Computer's "1984" spot

34 Photo-driven Life on newsstands

33 Reeves' "Unique Selling Proposition"

32 Start of cable, satellite-delivered TV

31 "Bug bomb," aerosol can technology

30 Quiz show scandals change TV buying

29 Birth of the daytime soap opera

28 HotWired runs 1st Internet ad

27 Remote control device arrives

26 Packard's "Hidden Persuaders"

Most Popular
In this article: