The DDB Half-Century

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1949 Doyle Dane Bernbach, with Ned Doyle, Mac Dane and Bill Bernbach as its principals, opens June 1 at 350 Madison Ave. in New York with 13 employees and $600,000 in billings. Ohrbach's department store is the lead client.

1953 DDB makes Advertising Age's annual billings issue for the first time, ranking 93rd among agencies with $5.1 million in billings.

1954 The agency wins Polaroid's business.

1954 The Factor-Breyer agency is acquired, becoming DDB's Los Angeles office.

1957 El Al Israel Airlines joins the client list.

1958 A Chicago office is opened.

1959 The agency lands the Volkswagen account.

1959 Billings reach $2.8 million.

1961 American Airlines joins the client roster. DDB currently serves the carrier in 33 countries.

1961 Needham, Harper & Steers wins General Mills business. DDB in Chicago continues to serve this client.

1962 The Dusseldorf office opens, giving the agency its first international presence.

1962 Avis becomes a client. The "We try harder" campaign results.

1964 On Aug. 24, Doyle Dane Bernbach goes public.

1965 The agency wins the Mobil Oil account.

1965 DDB wins the Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Festival for the Laura Scudder's potato chips TV spot "Supermarket."

1969 Ned Doyle retires.

1969 Billings reach $250 million.

1969 The Paris office opens.

1970 Bob Levenson is named creative director.

1971 Mac Dane retires.

1972 "Three Brothers" (aka "Mikey") commercial begins airing for Quaker Oats' Life cereal.

1977 Bill Bernbach is elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame.

1979 James Garner and Mariette Hartley are named "Star Presenters of the Year" by Advertising Age for their humorous spots for Polaroid's One-Step camera.

1979 Billings reach $700 million.

1980 Alka-Seltzer's "Mama Magadidi's Meatballs" is named "World's Best Commercial" by the International Broadcast Awards out of 20 years of outstanding TV spots.

1981 Optimum Media is launched in France.

1982 The agency restructures domestically, forming three parts: DDB US, led by Barry Loughrane as president-CEO and Roy Grace chairman-chief creative officer; DDB Europe, with Nicolai von Dellinghausen as president; and DDB Asia Pacific & the Americas, led by Senior VP Clay Timon.

1982 Bill Bernbach dies Oct. 2.

1984 John Bernbach becomes president-CEO of DDB International.

1986 A new agency, DDB Needham Worldwide, is created from the merger of Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper Worldwide. At the same time, a holding company, Omnicom Group, is formed uniting BBDO, DDB Needham and Diversified Agency Services. Keith Reinhard, who helped to engineer the merger, becomes chairman-CEO of DDB Needham Worldwide.

1987 Billings reach $4.1 billion.

1988 The London office wins the Grand Prix at the Cannes festival for a VW Passat commercial, "Through the Floor."

1989 Ned Doyle dies.

1992 DDB opens offices in Guanghzou, Shanghai and Beijing, China.

1994 John Bernbach, son of one of the agency founders, resigns as vice chairman and leaves the agency.

1995 DDB Needham regains McDonald's national business after a 16-year absence and introduces the "Did Somebody Say McDonald's?" campaign.

1996 A U.S. branch of Optimum Media is established.

1998 DDB Needham is named Advertising Age's first-ever "Global Network of the Year."

1999 The Worldwide Operating Committee is formed, and North American President Ken Kaess becomes its chairman.

1999 Volkswagen's "Snowplow" is named television's top commercial of all time at the Cannes festival.

1999 Clorox consolidates its domestic and international business at DDB.

1999 State Farm insurance celebrates 60 years with the agency, having begun its business with Needham, Louis & Brorby in 1939.

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