The year 2022 will be known for many things, but in the marketing industry it will be remembered as the year Dan Wieden died. The Wieden+Kennedy co-founder’s passing in October was a historic moment in the business. But Wieden was one of several major notable industry figures to die last year. Here, we look at 10 who made a mark on advertising.
Remembering industry icons who died in 2022
Spending nearly 30 years in the ad business, Sean Finnegan began as a media buyer at BBDO and rose through the ranks to later lead OMD. But perhaps his most long-lasting legacy was that of an early proponent of emerging media. Finnegan forged then-unprecedented partnerships with digital players such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, and was known as a great connector within the industry and a digital visionary. In addition to serving as chief digital officer of Publicis’ Starcom Mediavest Group, Finnegan founded and sat on the board of several organizations, including VO Partners. He also co-founded The Room, a private events series for senior brand and agency executives, and Chameleon Collective, a network of subject-matter experts charged with solving challenges across the industry. Finnegan died of a heart attack in April at age 50.
When Anheuser-Busch InBev was named Cannes Lions Marketer of the Year in 2022, a big reason was Jodi Harris, who instilled a culture of creativity at the brewer. Harris, who was global VP of marketing culture and capabilities, worked in the industry for 15 years, mainly in market research for Ann Taylor and Diageo. But it was at AB InBev, where she joined in 2011, where she truly elevated the work, leading initiatives that focused on creative output both internally and externally and prioritizing diversity. AB InBev Global CMO Marcel Marcondes told Ad Age: “Jodi showed us how to put marketing in the cockpit. Now she’s on to her next flight.” Harris died in May from lung cancer at age 46.
Ulta Beauty Chief Marketing Officer Shelly Haus was the force behind many of the cosmetic giant’s big branding plays, and was the architect of its shop-in-shop partnership with Target. Haus, who joined the company in 2014 as VP of brand marketing, was elevated to senior VP two years later and became CMO in 2020. Previously, she spent seven years at Pepsico and was an exec VP of consulting, market opportunity and innovation at GfK. A strong voice for industry diversity, Haus led Ulta to sign on to the Fifteen Percent Pledge to give more shelf space to Black-owned businesses. She died of cancer in June at age 49.
Linda Jefferson, a 40-year veteran of Chicago’s Burrell Communications, led communications planning on some of the agency’s choicest accounts including Comcast, American Red Cross, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Toyota and Coca-Cola. At the agency she was known for insightful perspectives on Black Americans and promoting a greater understanding of the Black consumer market as part of the agency’s culture team. Jefferson began her career at Tatham-Laird & Kudner and later J. Walter Thompson, and among her accolades are Ebony magazine’s 2004 Advertising Agency Award for Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications, and a MAXX Lifetime Achievement Award from Target Market News. She died after a short illness in May at age 69.
One of the industry’s most enduring and colorful characters, famed art director George Lois left a 60-year indelible imprint on the ad business. Among his creations are Esquire magazine covers that hang in the Museum of Modern Art portraying Andy Warhol submerged in a can of Campbell’s Soup, Muhammad Ali styled like the martyr St. Sebastian, and boxer Sonny Liston wearing a Santa cap. Lois’ advertising work both reflected and created culture—evidence “I Want My MTV,” which he wrote at Papert, Lois and Koenig, an agency he founded after years at DDB. Lois was also noted for bringing celebrities into advertising with unlikely pairings such as Whitey Ford and Salvador Dalí in commercials for Braniff. “There are two types of exceptional creatives. The ones who create groundbreaking trends again and again, and the ones who create work so timeless that it feels as fresh today as it did 40 years ago and will remain so for the next 40 years' time. George Lois is most definitely the latter,” said Rick Brim, chief creative officer at Adam&Eve/DDB. Lois died in November at age 91.
A longtime fixture on the marketing scene and particularly at the Association of National Advertisers, where he was a chairman, Tony Pace died in a snowmobiling accident near Big Sky, Montana in February. A former CMO at Subway, he was there on invitation from NBCUniversal for an Olympics-related event. Pace had a decade-long career at Subway and was an executive at Young & Rubicam and McCann-Erickson, but in his later years focused on his work as CEO of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board, a group working toward developing standards for objectively evaluating brand value and the contribution of advertising to it. Described as a forceful advocate for marketing responsibility, Pace oversaw the ANA’s probe into transparency issues during his term there as chairman. He was 64 at the time of his death.
Queen Elizabeth II
Her Royal Highness may not have worked in the ad industry, but her death had a huge impact on it. Queen Elizabeth II’s passing in September caused an industry-wide ad blackout in the U.K. and prompted broadcaster ITV to silence all advertising for 24 hours. Print newspapers suspended advertising, outdoor boards went dark and marketers scrutinized their messaging. Brands included respectful tributes to her majesty in social media and the entire world tuned in to watch her funeral. The Queen died at age 96 after a 70-year reign.
The “father of positioning,” Al Ries, along with his then-partner Jack Trout, burst onto the advertising scene in the early 1970s with the radical concept of positioning, which held that rather than focus on brand benefits, marketers must instead fix a place for the brand in the consumer’s mind. That led to books and a thriving consulting practice for a who’s who of marketers, including Apple, Walt Disney Co., Frito-Lay, Ford Motor Co., Microsoft, Papa Johns, Samsung, Siemens and Unilever. Ries, who in his later years set up shop with his daughter Laura, was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame in 2016. He died in October at age 95.
Richard “Dick” Tarlow was the king of fashion and cosmetics advertising, having created memorable campaigns for signature clients including Max Factor, Almay, Jean Nate and Jontue. In 1977 he co-founded Kurtz & Tarlow, which grew so quickly it was acquired by Geers Gross, which itself was sold to McCann and became part of IPG. He then founded Tarlow Advertising at the behest of Max Factor, which shot up to $50 million in billings in two years and was later sold to Revlon. His third act was forming another shop in 1989 with his wife Sandy, Carlson & Partners, servicing clients including Neutrogena, Ralph Lauren and Victoria’s Secret. He died in June at age 81.
One of the greatest ad talents of all time, Dan Wieden, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, died in October, a year after the passing of his former partner, David Kennedy. Famed for creating Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan, Wieden founded the shop on April Fool’s Day in 1982, building the brand into an international powerhouse that would turn Portland, Oregon into a thriving creative hub. Highly decorated, Wieden was inducted into the One Club Hall of Fame, the Art Directors Hall of Fame and the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame. He was a recipient of the D&AD President’s Award, a lifetime achievement award from Clio and the Lion of St. Mark from Cannes in 2012. His passing caused an outpouring from industry luminaries about the indelible impact he and his agency made on the business. Wieden was 77.