McCaffrey & McCall Founder and His Wife Killed in Albania
NEW YORK-David McCall was remembered last week as much for his contributions outside of Madison Avenue as he was for the creative legacy he carved there.
The 71-year-old McCaffrey & McCall co-founder and his wife, Penny, 57, died in a car accident April 18 in Albania on a mission to aid Kosovar refugees.
“After his agency sale to Saatchi, David wanted to do something aside from philanthropy. He wanted to take the skills and creativity he developed in advertising and bring them into the larger world,” said Lenny Stern, one of McCall’s partners at Shepardson Stern + Kaminsky in New York.
At the time of their death, the McCalls were on a mission for Refugees International. They were in Albania to see if radio broadcasts could help Kosovar refugees searching for separated family members. David McCall was to have succeeded U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke as the organization’s chairman.
McCall had also been active in land-mine deactivation efforts, the New York Urban League and the Congress for Racial Equality. His wife was also well-known as a philanthropist, arts patron and human rights activist.
“It is a real tragedy. David and Penny were both really special,” said WPP Group chief executive Martin Sorrell. Sorrell met McCall in 1983 when he made the McCaffrey acquisition with Saatchi & Saatchi. McCall’s sensibility and finesse reminded him of a famous agency leader who would later join WPP. “David always struck me as the archetypal Ogilvy person, a real gentleman with brains,” the WPP chief recalls.
McCall had spent 10 years at Ogilvy & Mather in the 1950s, where he eventually succeeded David Ogilvy as chief copywriter. In 1961, he left to set up McCaffrey & McCall, which drew clients such as Exxon, Mercedes-Benz and Tiffany. Among McCall’s most memorable ads was an anti-smoking spot in which Yul Brinner posthumously urges people not to smoke.
Six years ago, he joined up with SS+K principals–whom he had worked with at what is now BSMG Worldwide-as a founding partner.
“If David was going to go, this is the way he would want … helping people he had never met,” said Stern. ƒ