Every industry has its stars, past and present, and advertising is certainly no exception. The very nature of advertising and the number of different industries it touches has resulted in some of the biggest players becoming household names.
If you're new to the advertising industry, some of these people may not be familiar to you. If you're a veteran, this list will hopefully be a nice reminder of the greats who helped you get where you are today.
Bill Bernbach - The Greatest Influencer
Born in the Bronx in New York City on August 13th, 1911, William (Bill) Bernbach is without question the most important and influential figure in the history of modern advertising. A founding partner of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), he was a copywriter and creative director who changed the face of advertising, and almost every advertising agency today relies on the ideas and structure that Bill Bernbach provided.
Neil French - Copywriting Legend
Superstar copywriters are few and far between in the advertising industry. Neil French is at the top of a very short list (one which also includes David Abbott, Tony Brignull, Dan Weiden, Mike Lescarbeau, Luke Sullivan, Lionel Hunt and, well, anyone featured in the D&AD Copy Book). Now, learn a little about a man who is still considered to be one of the best writers in the business.
David Ogilvy - The Father Of Advertising
There are several names in the industry that are synonymous with advertising. David Ogilvy is perhaps the most famous, and respected, of those names. Often referred to as "The Father of Advertising" he left behind him a legacy of astounding work, powerful agencies and several books that have become must-reads for anyone who even thinks about getting into the ad business.
Steve Jobs - Best Client Ever?
Born February 24th, 1955, and passing away on October 5th, 2011, Steve Jobs was a co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. His impact on the technology industry, entertainment, advertising, and pop culture was vast, and he leaves behind an empire that is changing the way we all live and work. While many critics say his personality was bordering on sociopathic at times, he made Apple the powerhouse company it is.
Tom Carty & Walter Campbell - Powerhouse Creative Team
Advertising has had many superstar copywriters and art directors, but very few superstar teams. That's not to say they don't exist; we merely focus on names and not pairings. However, in the mid-1980s a team formed that created some of the most powerful, memorable and exciting commercials ever made. That team is Britain's Tom Carty and Walter Campbell, and to know their work is to know that you can tread the fine line of art and advertising and still sell a whole lot of product.
Sir Ridley Scott - Legendary Commercial Director
Sir Ridley Scott is best known as a movie director, creating some of the powerful and important movies of the last 40 years. They include Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster. However, before he directed films (his first was The Duellists, made in 1977 with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine), Ridley Scott was an equally important name in the world of design and TV commercials.
Closing Thought - What About the Women?
Now, while it's easy to find articles about great men in advertising, it's a little harder to find articles about great women in advertising; but they're out there. However, it's fair to say that the percentages heavily favor the men. Why is that?
Well, for the longest time, advertising was dominated by men. You just have to watch Mad Men to see how the roles in an agency were divided, with women doing a lot of the menial tasks, and men taking the lead on creative work and account direction.
But, times did change. While it is still nowhere close to 50/50, there have been, and continue to be, some truly exceptional women who have made their mark. Consider the likes of Tiger Savage, Phyllis Robinson, Mary Wells, Charlotte Beers, Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, Helen Lansdowne Resor, and Peggy King to name just a few.