LOS ANGELES Adrienne Hall, the founder of the first advertising agency in America headed by women, died Saturday from complications arising from ALS. She was 81.
Hall rose from the account side of Los Angeles-area agencies such as N.W. Ayer. In the early 1970s, Hall started Hall & Levine Advertising with creative directors Joan Levine in Los Angeles. Among the brands represented over the years were Neutrogena, Max Factor, Tahiti Tourist Board, and UTA French Airlines. The agency launched Kapalua Resorts.
Hall eventually sold the agency to Foote, Cone & Belding, FCB’s first acquisition. Later she became vice chairman at Eisaman, Johns & Laws before its purchase by Lois/USA in 1998.
“She represented the grand lady of West Coast advertising,” said Gerry Rubin, co-founder RPA, Santa Monica, Calif. “She represented the values and passion necessary to do brilliant work. She was the consummate professional and a steward for what this industry represents.”
“She was an extraordinary woman with a passion for the business and a passion for what’s right,” said Jerry Gibbons, a partner at A-Team Advisors, who served with Hall on the board of the Western Region 4A’s in the late ’70s. “She had great honesty, intelligence and integrity.”
“She believed in the power of the advertising and its power to build brands and business and also create a free press,” said Barrie Lynn Krich, who worked as account supervisor with Hall at both Hall & Levine and Eisaman Johns & Laws. “Whereas many people work in this industry but don’t really like it, she was a strong advocate for it.”
Most recently, Hall was president and CEO of the Hall Group International Marketing. Over the years, Hall served as a director of the 4A’s; chairman of the board of governors, Western Region 4A’s; and president of the Western States Advertising Agencies Association. She was a past president of the Los Angeles Advertising Club; a director of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society; a founder and director of the Advertising Industry Emergency Fund; and a member of the National Advertising Review Board.
Outside the ad business, Hall served seven years as director of the Los Angeles area Chamber of Commerce, as commissioner of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and as a director of the American Red Cross. She was on the corporate advisory boards of Merrill Lynch, Nestle and Bank of America, among others.
Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government established “The Adrienne Hall Women’s Mentorship Fund” in 2005 in her honor. Other honors included leader-of-the-year kudos from the Western States Advertising Agencies Association and a woman-of-the-year nod from the American Advertising Federation, from which she also received a silver medal of distinction.