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On June 1, 1949, Doyle Dane Bernbach was formed with a staff of thirteen and offices at 350 Madison Avenue. Ned Doyle was the catalyst for this partnership. He and Bernbach were vice presidents at Grey Advertising. And he had worked with Dane when he was advertising director and Dane was advertising promotion manager at Look magazine. Dane had since started his own agency, and Doyle Dane Bernbach, Inc. was formed on the amended charter of Maxwell Dane Incorporated.

The partners shared a conviction, which Doyle described: “We wanted to set up an agency with principles we could believe in. To be perfectly honest with the client. To give him the work we think he should have, provided it fits his goal. To be experts in how to present the product to the public. Not to wonder what the client’s wife is going to say about the advertising.”

Each of the partners assumed different areas of responsibility. Bernbach was totally responsible for the creative output, with Bob Gage and Phyllis Robinson with him on the creative team. Doyle handled account supervision. Dane’s role would ultimately be in business management.

“When you’re just starting out and you’ve only got thirteen people, you don’t need any administrators,” he said with a laugh. “The real problem was getting enough business to survive and grow, and to personally do as much of the work as we could to keep the payroll down. No one else would work that cheap.”

Their first major account was Orbach’s which came over with Doyle and Bernbach from Grey. Orbach’s was a unique retail store. It sold high fashion at lower prices, with all designer labels removed. Only limited customer service was offered, and it held no sales and no special promotions. All of the advertising was institutional, based on the slogan, "A business in millions, a profit in pennies.”

The advertising, too, was unique. The pattern for future DDB advertising was clearly evident in the imaginative improvisations on the theme—always right on the theme—with copy that was lively and entertaining to read. It was a great showcase for the new agency’s talent.

“After every Orbach’s campaign, spring and fall,” Doyle stated, “we would get two or three calls from people who wanted to see us. They came because they felt some rapport with that kind of advertising. These were our early clients.”

One of the first accounts attracted, in 1949, was Henry S. Levy & Son, a Brooklyn bakery in very serious trouble with their bread sales. Instead of cranking out more made-up claims of product superiority, DDB gave Levy’s a personality. Phyllis Robinson wrote a radio commercial with a small boy asking for “Wevy’s Cimminum Waisin Bwead” and his mother trying to correct his pronunciation. New Yorkers picked up the phrase “I Wuv Wevy’s.” Later, this was followed by the subway posters with one of the famous slogans in advertising: “You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy’s.”

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In the next year, Barton’s Candy Corp. (empty candy papers, “Delicious, wasn't it?”) and Dreyfus & Co. were added. Billings were up to two million and DDB was beginning to roll.

Even during this beginning period when getting new business was crucial to survival, Doyle Dane Bernbach did not make speculative presentations. The only exception, according to Joe Daly, DDB president, was the time they prepared four speculative ads for Polaroid. But these were commissioned and paid for by another client, Dreyfus & Co.

“Jack Dreyfus had a firm belief in advertising, and he had a major stake in Polaroid stock. He felt they were being inhibited by bad advertising and he wanted to do something about it. After seven years on the market with this great, incredible product, Polaroid had only reached the miserable total of fifteen million in annual sales. It’s over 500 million now. Dr. Land once said, ‘They’ll probably claim all the credit, but I’ll give them half.’

“In this instance, Dreyfus functioned as the account executive. He was very familiar with the company and he gave us the necessary input. That’s one of the reasons we won’t do speculative presentations. Before we do any work, we like to have a complete and thorough product indoctrination and study the market. A speculative presentation doesn’t give you a chance. We think it’s unprofessional."

In that same year, 1954, DDB merged with one of the best West Coast agencies. Factor-Breyer became Doyle Dane Bernbach in Los Angeles.

In 1957, billings reached 20 million. El Al Israel Airlines joined the roster that year. The budget was small, but great ads made it a prestigious, showcase account.

Why people feel you have to be a writer or a painter to be creative I’ll never understand. There are some marketing men, some heads of businesses I have dealt with who are far more creative than most of the art directors and writers I know." —Bill Bernbach

Bob Levenson, a former creative director of DDB, remembers one of the early El Al ads as a turning point in his career. “I was on the train going to work one morning and I saw this Doyle Dane Bernbach ad. It was the one with the torn ocean and the headline ‘Starting Dec. 23, the Atlantic Ocean will be 20% smaller.’ It was a dazzling ad. It would still be a dazzling ad. I said, ‘Gee, that’s smart. I’d like to work there.’ It took me a couple of years, because I didn’t have any agency experience and they weren’t doing much hiring at that time. But I finally got a job in the sales promotion department.”

DDB attracted talent, including much of the best young talent. Nineteen sixty was a spectacular year for Doyle Dane Bernbach. Their increasing domination of awards competitions continued, including four of the eight gold medals for advertising in the New York Art Directors Club exhibition. DDB was no longer a small agency. Billings shot up to over 46 million, a 68% increase over the previous year. Much of this was due to the acquisition of five major accounts in 1959. One, of course, was Volkswagen.

DDB had become the brightest star in the industry. “...the hottest agency in the world,” wrote Advertising Age. “...DDB’s inventive campaigns have not only won the agency a blue-chip roster of clients, but something even harder to come by: the admiration of the ad industry,” said Newsweek.

The highest form of admiration, it has been said, is imitation. A host of such admirers sprang up all across the country. A phenomenon that grew out of this was the term “a Doyle Dane ad.”

Some clients actually did call up their agencies and request “a Doyle Dane ad.” And there were people in the advertising business who seemed to have an explicit image of what it was, and quickly mastered the style. The layout was approximately four-fifths illustration, starkly simple, with a small headline and text in the space that was left. The headline always provided a jolt like: “Sour grapes,” “Applesauce,” “Forget it,” or “Who needs it?”

If a lot of irrelevant pyrotechnics were inspired by DDB—and many of these may have been more effective than the dullness they replaced—it was only a byproduct of the positive influence Doyle Dane Bernbach exerted on all advertising. Other agencies were encouraged to do work with more imagination and taste. The stature of the creative person in advertising increased immensely. Clients were educated to accept, even demand, advertising with greater impact and more direct communication with the consumer. Not just DDB’s clients, other people’s clients too.

How Doyle Dane Bernbach did creative advertising is no secret. Bernbach has described it very specifically in several speeches. It is not the startling revelation that some might expect.

You must get a sound premise before you even begin to think in terms of being creative. Otherwise, you know, you’re going to make indelible something that doesn’t matter. " —Bill Bernbach

The first step was to get thoroughly familiar with the product and the market, which any good advertising agency would do. Then, to find a single purpose or theme to convey to the reader. This was more difficult, and why Bill Bernbach, Rosser Reeves, Leo Burnett and a few others stand out. They had the ability to intuitively find that single idea, sometimes only one point of difference or importance that would strike a responsive note with the consumer. And, having found it, they pursued it tenaciously in the advertising.

It is at this point, having determined the selling proposition, that Bernbach’s genius was most impressive—presenting that idea, with artistry and imagination so people would see it and remember it.

Not only could Bernbach do this himself, he was able—unlike many other creative people—to accept the creative efforts of the people who worked for him and take great pride in their accomplishments. He encouraged and helped his creative people to develop their talents in the direction most natural to the individual. At the same time, he persuasively imparted his convictions and theories of advertising to them.

In a 1971 interview with CA’s Richard Coyne, Bill Bernbach shared some of his philosophy on advertising and described the early years of what many consider to be the most influential agency in the history of advertising.

CA: I must confess that I know nothing about your career before a certain point. I have to assume that you didn’t start as a vice president at Grey.

Bernbach: No, I didn’t.

CA: How did you get into advertising?

Bernbach: I was a writer, and I was also interested in art. I’d been a ghost writer for a lot of famous politicians. I wrote Grover Whelan’s speeches for many years running. He was the head of the New York World’s Fair, the old one in 1939. I worked there, and finally headed the literary department—we called it the research department. We wrote articles for various publications, speeches, books, a history of fairs for the Encyclopedia Britannica and so forth. After the fair, I applied cold for a job at the Weintraub agency. I had never been in advertising, but I thought it might be a good idea to ghost for some products instead of people. It might be lucrative and it might be very interesting. And it turned out that way. There was a job opening and I had to write a piece in competition with some advertising men. Mr. Weintraub picked me. From that point, on it went. I guess one of the advantages I had at that time was I knew less about the advertising business than other people. What was it Thurber said about Ross? “His mind was uncluttered by culture.” I had an uncluttered mind and I had some kind of skills with art and copy. I think that’s what led me into an integration of copy and art in a way that it had never been integrated before. You know the old way of doing things. They would have the copywriter write a headline and a piece of body copy and then some boy would take it to the art director and he would make a layout. Well, it was my feeling that an idea was the important thing. If you were a great craftsman as a writer or an artist, you used those tools to bring that idea to life.

CA: Back at that time you were already developing the philosophy that directs Doyle Dane?

Bernbach: Oh yes. From the first.

CA: Was Rand at Weintraub then?

Bernbach: Yes. Paul Rand and I became very, very close friends. We worked on the old Dubonnet campaign, the Air-wick campaign, many campaigns. We would spend our lunch hours in galleries looking at art collections. And Paul would be writing some books on graphics and I would perhaps help him with those. So there was this tremendous interplay of our disciplines. I felt...and I still feel that way...if two good creative people get together, an art director and a copywriter, sometimes you don't know who’s writing the copy and who’s doing the art because you get excited about the thought... which is the important thing. Even if you execute a bad thought well, you’re not going to get anyplace. The only answer is to get a great creative idea.

CA: That’s not easy.

Bernbach: No. I know very many good writers who are not good creative people. I know many good graphics men who are not good creative people. They are good technicians.

CA: By creative, do you mean in the sense of being creative advertising people?

Bernbach: I mean in the sense of being creative people, in the sense of getting fresh thoughts.

CA: Then this could apply to fields other than advertising.

Bernbach: It could apply to shoemaking just as much as it applies to painting. Why people feel you have to be a writer or a painter to be creative I’ll never understand. There are some marketing men, some heads of businesses I have dealt with who are far more creative than most of the art directors and writers I know...because they find fresh, new ways to reach a goal and achieve impact. And in advertising you can measure the efficiency of your ad by its impact. The impact is a direct result of how fresh and original it is, because you react strongly to something you've never seen or heard before. If you’ve seen it or heard it before, you just don’t react that strongly. It’s very ironic, you know, that this intangible thing that is so hard to measure is such a practical business tool...being fresh and original. Playing it safe can be the most costly thing in the world because you’re presenting people with an idea they’ve seen before and you won't have the impact. Of course you can get fresh ideas that are not relevant and that’s no good.

CA: There’s a lot of current talk about returning to “hard sell” advertising.

Bernbach: Recently I was asked to address the ANA because they felt the ’70s were going to be a difficult time for advertising. The reason it would be difficult is because of consumer resentment and economic conditions that aren’t what they would like them to be. This can lead to fright on the part of the advertisers. And the result is, number one, he will say things very straightforwardly and mundanely because he’s afraid of the consumerism attack he might get. The other thing he’s concerned about is, quote, hard sell. Unfortunately, “hard sell” to most people is a style rather than hard selling. “Hard sell” to most people is shouting.

CA: It may not be “hard sell,” but you’ve always sold hard.

Bernbach: I was about to tell you what you’ve just told me. My feeling is that you must get a sound premise before you even begin to think in terms of being creative. You have to have a sound premise. Otherwise, you know, you’re going to make indelible something that doesn’t matter. But once you get your sound premise, what a crime it is not to make it memorable. When we were just beginning, I said: “Any advertising man worth his salt will search for an important thing to say about his product. But your work isn’t over after you’ve found that. Your work has just begun. Now that you have this sacred thing, from a business point of view, you must make it indelible in the minds of the people.” So creativity, in that sense, becomes as practical, more practical, than anything else you do. Now I tell you that in this decade creativity will not be less important. It will be more important—provided you are sound—it will be more important because everybody in their fright will say things in the same way and therefore will be boring people. The few who remain creative, intelligently creative, will stand out even more.

CA: Besides some of the magazines, there are some influential people in this field who are making statements about "“hard sell” being the logical approach at this time.

Bernbach: If you say to me that “hard sell” means anything that makes a lot of sales, I would agree with you. Nobody wants to sell harder than I do. That’s my job. But if you say to me that “hard sell” means only big type and shouting your advantages and doing it the way everybody else does it, then I have to say “You're throwing your money away.” You’ve seen the house ad we just ran. The reason we ran it was that when I mentioned Close-up to people they would say, “Oh, do you do Close-up?” And that hurt, you know. “Do you do Heinz Ketchup?” Or “Do you do Sara Lee?” We’re not known as a package goods house, but I don’t think there are many agencies with this kind of record. There isn’t any harder sell around. Let’s take the hard sell we gave Heinz Ketchup. We went out and found it is thicker and richer than our competition’s. Now suppose we had just put that in big headlines. “Heinz Ketchup is thicker and richer.” That’s the “hard sell” style. Do you for a minute think it would have been as memorable, as remembered as the ketchup race? Which is saying the same thing but it’s giving you a hook for remembering the advantage. Everybody knows that Heinz Ketchup is tough to get out of the bottle. As a matter of fact, it’s a disadvantage because some people get angry. We took that very thing that bothers them, that they’re aware of, and made them now think in terms of “this is so because we are better than everybody else.” So we take the thick and the rich and we make you remember it by being creative, by being artful about it instead of just saying “We're thicker and richer.” We were never anything but hard sell. Never. I remember Time magazine calling me up once and saying to me, “Now that times are hard, are you going to sell harder in your advertising?” I said, “You must be kidding. Do you mean to say that I wasn't trying to sell hard before?” I got very upset with this young man and I told him, “Every ad we have ever done, we’ve always tried to be hard sell. We may not have always succeeded, but that was our goal—to make you remember the advantages of our product. Any agency that didn’t do that should be fired.” And then I said, “But you won’t print this because it doesn’t fit into your neat story angle, Hard Times, Hard Sell.” And he didn’t, you know. You may find some people around who will say, “Gee, it’s great. Now that times are a little harder we’ll just tell clients that we’re the hard sell people.” That’s just a gimmick way of making a presentation.

CA: In doing my homework, I found out that when you formed Doyle Dane Bernbach Mr. Dane already had an agency.

Bernbach: He had a small agency, yes. We joined him for one reason, but it turned out to be a very fortuitous move for many other reasons. We thought that, instead of going through all the problems of setting up credit and an organization, he already had it. Doyle knew Dane. They had worked together before and Doyle said to me, “He’s a very fine guy.” And he turned out to be a very fine guy. We had a good relationship. We always got along. I think we had one of the few business organizations around without any factions of any kind. It was a happy organization. Often a crazy organization, but a happy, hardworking organization. I stated something, at our first Christmas party, that we had two requisites for people working at Doyle Dane Bernbach. Number one, they had to be nice people. And number two, they had to have a lot of talent. I’m sorry for the nice guy who doesn’t have talent, but that’s bad for my business. And I don’t give a damn how much talent the son of a bitch has, I don’t want him. Life’s too short. We tried to hire people with that in mind and it worked pretty well.

CA: Obviously it worked pretty well. How did you establish the sequence of names for the agency?

Bernbach: It sounded better. That’s all. Imagine Bernbach Doyle Dane. Doesn’t sound right.

CA: Maybe it’s because we’re accustomed to hearing it the other way.

Bernbach: I think it’s more euphonious, the way the syllables fall. Two single syllables and then a double.

CA: I thought maybe you tossed a coin.

Bernbach: No. No. I’m sure we did a lot of things by tossing coins, but that was a matter of euphony. We never had any problems of that kind. We were always unanimous on all decisions. It was nice.

CA: It is almost unbelievable.

Bernbach: Yes, you know. How lucky can you get? I used to tell clients: “You get lucky when you hire Doyle Dane Bernbach. We’re lucky.”

CA: You always seemed to have attracted good creative people.

Bernbach: At the beginning there was Bob Gage, Phyllis Robinson and me. We were the creative team. And then as we grew, we attracted some great guys. We got Helmut Krone, Bill Taubin, so many very, very good people. They all wanted to come with us, you know. We didn’t have to go looking for anybody. As soon as they saw our Orbach’s ads and our Levy‘s ads, everybody wanted to come here. The kind of people I wanted, let’s put it that way. The job was keeping them on the tracks and it worked.

CA: Bert Steinhauser once told me that he really learned art directing from you, even though you are a writer.

Bernbach: Let me tell you why he thinks that. I did that with Bob Gage, too, when Bob first came with me. I hired him when we were both at another agency. It’s because I taught them to think in terms of what they’re saying, graphically. And when you have something to say, you say it better whether its graphically or with words. Bert’s office was next to Bob Gage’s downstairs. I did all the Orbach’s stuff with Bob in the early days and every time I left his office I would stop off at Bert’s. I always made it a point—that’s how this agency developed—I would stop off for a half hour or an hour with each one of the people and just sit with them and talk the philosophy of writing and art and advertising. And not being a phony. That when a man pays us a buck to sell his merchandise, we are phonies unless we sell that merchandise. That’s what our job is. If we don’t like it, we shouldn’t be in this business. But, if you’re an honest guy, you’re out to make that product memorable to the consumer and not to show what a great designer you are. I used to talk with Bert like that. Instead of making little designs or something, I’d tell them to make their statements importantly, make them simply and make them honestly. The kids who used to come here because they thought we were a design agency, I would throw them out. The last thing in the world we are is a design agency. We’re an agency that looks very long and hard for the thing to say and then we like to say it simply and let nothing get in the way of the message.

CA: Because so many ads from here have been attention grabbers, it is easily misunderstood.

Bernbach: It’s misunderstood. Although I am pleased how over the years so many people got to understand. Just as you said, “We’re hard sell.” Just as this fellow who wrote this book The New Advertising. You’ve seen it?

CA: Yes.

Bernbach: The people who understand, who know what this is all about, really grasp what we are about. We are a hard sell agency. And we’re all the harder sell because we say very imaginatively what the advantage of that product is. There’s nothing more economical in the world. There’s two ways you can go about making your advantage memorable. You can say it a thousand times and it finally sinks in. Or you can say it ten times with the same impact because you’ve said it in such a fresh way that people can't forget you.

CA: What happens to an account man in an agency that is so dedicated to—and receives so much publicity for—its creativity?

Bernbach: Very good question. I tell you, and I say this with no hesitation at all, an account man has to be better at Doyle Dane Bernbach than at any other agency. My creative people know that if their work is to be really effective it had better be based on knowledge and soundness. And the man around who can supply them with all the facts and figures and knowledge to make their creative work pay off is that account man. And so the creative people in this shop are terrors on the account man. They badger him. They demand all the information they can get—what the marketing situation is, what the competitor situation is, what the consumer situation is. I say to them, the account men, “For goodness sake, you shouldn’t have to worry about the subtleties of creative work. What you should have to worry about is a direction. What you should have to worry about is the client’s business because you are our representative in his business. You have an awful lot of work to do. You shouldn’t be going over there and changing words and changing layouts. That’s not your skill. We don’t have your skill, but you don’t have ours.” The result is that over the years we have developed some fine young account men, the new breed of marketing guys, and they are educated to what the creative responsibility is. And our good creative people are educated to what a contribution these guys can make. You know, one of the dangers in an agency like ours, in the beginning, was that you’d get some young, uninformed account man and he’s not deeply aware of what we’re about. And he goes to a client and says, “This is our work and you’d better buy it.” I remember one coming back to me and saying, “The client didn’t want this but I told him he should buy it, and he bought it.” And I said, “Let me see it.” I looked at it and I said, “The client was right.” You can’t be strong unless you're right. I don’t give a damn who makes the ad better as long as it gets better. Ultimately we’re all going to profit and prosper by the quality of that work. Not by the silly little pride we have that we did it.

CA: Do you still write copy now?

Bernbach: I don’t write body copy any more. I still do a few things. I look at approaches and occasionally write headlines. For example, I wrote the headline on that house ad. But I learned a long time ago...remember what I told you about stopping in the rooms? Sometimes they hated to see me come in because I would tend to get headlines for them and so on. Well, I shouldn’t do that, and I learned that very early. I’d ask questions and lead them so that they did it.

CA: This must have been very difficult at times.

Bernbach: It was very difficult for me. But it paid off because I think we have developed the greatest number of good creative people in this business. That’s what developed it, being sensitive to their ego needs. Which is natural. Which is human nature. You must nourish this, and in the process you profit by it because they get better and they do better work.

CA: I’ve been told by a number of people here that you did this very subtly.

Bernbach: I tried. I tried to lead them to find their own answers. And that’s the reason we have the variety in this place, because I never tried to impose my personality on them. What I tried to do was discover what their personality is, and make that flourish. I know, for example, that one man’s personality was such that he was strong, and heavy, and almost brutal. I knew that about him and I would work in that direction so he would develop what was natural to him. I knew another man had a delightful, light sense of humor. So you work to bring that out. Bob Gage is a wonderful human being. He’s warm. He loves people. That’s what Bob is all about. That’s why he does these wonderful commercials for Polaroid. You feel it. He can make you cry in one minute. He really can. That’s Bob. But how wrong it would be for me to take this brutal guy and have him try to be like Bob. Or to take Bob and have him be brutal. Bob couldn’t be brutal if someone was stabbing him.

CA: Then you must have put considerable effort into determining who got which assignment?

Bernbach: Well, yes...but not necessarily. No matter what the account is, these individuals should go in the direction that’s natural for them on that account. In other words, you don’t have to decide this is an account that needs humor and I’ll give it to so and so. Or this is an account that needs brutality and I’ll give it to so and so. It doesn’t really matter that much which direction you go on an account. What matters is how well you go in that direction. You can be successful with humor. You can be successful with exposition. You can be successful with strength. You can be successful in many ways.

CA: Then you believe that there’s many answers for any problem?

Bernbach: I think there’s all kinds of roads to go down to make what you want be remembered.

CA: You used one word several times when we were talking-not as much, perhaps, on this tape because of the nature of my questions. That word was “discipline,” and I suspect that may be a key word to whatever Doyle Dane Bernbach is.

Bernbach: Yes. I think it’s the key word. It’s everything really, because everybody has ideas. I think the important thing is to be so disciplined that you recognize which is the good idea and which is the bad idea. I think you have to be disciplined to know what your purpose is and not to do anything that doesn’t further that purpose. Discipline is needed on both sides of the fence. It’s needed by the creative man in an agency, and it’s needed by the marketing management of the agency and the client. I think that the marketing man has to so discipline himself that he understands that there is an element beyond the mathematical in communications. If you just have a copy platform, it isn’t enough. That if you just mathematically put in your ad all the things your research and marketing analysts say should be in that ad, that’s not enough. That you need something beyond that to make the ad work, to breathe life into those dead facts. On the other hand, the creative man needs this tremendous discipline to know that he’s using his wit, his imagination, his artistry to say the things that need saying and not just to say anything. He needs discipline to find out what the problem really is. You don’t solve a problem unless you know what the problem is. So discipline, in my book, is the most important word in any activity, certainly in the creative activity.

CA: Everyone knows that Doyle Dane Bernbach has done exceptionally well, almost dominated, the awards competitions. It is probably not as well known that you've also done well in the readership studies.

Bernbach: We were number one for two years in a row.

CA: I guess I’m guilty of understatement.

Bernbach: In the last two Starch annual surveys on readership, Doyle Dane Bernbach has more best-read ads than any other agency.

CA: Are these the same ads that won awards?

Bernbach: Sure. I don’t separate creativity from effectiveness. This is my whole point, really, that if you are truly creative in a disciplined way, if you are talking about what people are interested in—which is the discipline—and then talk about it in a very exciting way, you are going to get readership like you never got in your life. You have to. For example, I’ve often used the example that research says you ought to put a picture of a man crying on the page. OK. I can put him there in such a way that you will look at him and pass by. Or I can put him there in such a way as to make you want to cry. Now, that’s an intangible thing. But look at the practical value of that. I’ve made you stop. I’ve made you look at that $50,000 page in Life, and made you listen. What is more practical than creativity that stops you and makes you look, listen and believe?

CA: It sounds very logical. Why is it hard to sell?

Bernbach: Well, we’ve done all right. If we get in front of people and tell them this, we don’t have too much trouble. But we have a lot of competition out there. It sort of muddles up things. (laughter)

CA: I noticed in the latest figures that you’re still doing all right.

Bernbach: As a matter of fact, I just saw the figures in Advertising Age. We’re sixth on domestic billing and our international is growing fast. We were seventh, I think, around the world. So we’re still doing all right. No complaints.

CA: I know you don’t have a cigarette account. Have you ever had one?

Bernbach: Yes, and I’m so glad you asked. It has been said that it is very easy for us to be idealistic and not take a cigarette account if we don’t have one. But we had a part of the Philip Morris business. And when we decided to give up cigarette advertising, it cost us money.

CA: You literally resigned the account?

Bernbach: We literally resigned. And we were just getting started in Europe and we had a nice cigarette account there. We gave that up too. We didn’t just want to do it in the United States. At the same time, we were offered one of the giant cigar accounts. We could easily have taken that and weaseled our way around it by saying “Well, cigars are not as bad for you as cigarettes.” But we felt, if we really mean it, we’re going all the way. And we turned down the cigar account.

CA: Are there other products or accounts that you have objected to on moral grounds?

Bernbach: Yes. When we first started in business, there was a big retail account that came to us. I don’t want to mention the name. This was when we were starting and getting business was terribly important to us. But we felt that we didn’t like the way they did business. We felt they were sort of a sharp outfit and perhaps not always presenting themselves properly to the consumer. We made a decision then not to take that account. And from time to time we have decided not to take business on the basis that we thought the product didn’t live up to what they were saying about it. This is not entirely an idealistic attitude. We felt that the most important ingredient in the success of any campaign is the quality of the product. So we look very carefully at a product. We wouldn’t knowingly sell anything we didn’t believe in, but there may have been instances where we did things not knowing about it. ca


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