DDB Co-Founder Dane Dies at 98

NEW YORK Maxwell “Mac” Dane, the last remaining founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach, the precursor of Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide, died Aug. 8 at his home here following a brief illness, according to a statement by DDB. He was 98.

Born in Cincinnati in 1906, Dane, the son of a coppersmith who emigrated with his wife from Russia, began his career as secretary to the advertising manager of New York retailer Stern Bros.

His next positions were with the New York Evening Post as retail promotion manager; the Dorland International agency as account executive and copywriter; and Look magazine, where he was advertising and promotion manager. At Look, Dane met Ned Doyle, who, along with William Bernbach, would be his business partners in Doyle Dane Bernbach.

In 1941, Dane became advertising promotion manager of radio station WMCA, and during World War II he arranged for The New York Times to broadcast news bulletins every hour on the hour, which was then an innovation in radio broadcasting.

Dane opened his own agency, Maxwell Dane Inc., in 1944, and on June 1, 1949, he joined with Doyle and Bernbach to form Doyle Dane Bernbach.

Through the years, the agency became well known for campaigns such as “Think small” for Volkswagen, “We try harder” for Avis, and “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Rye bread.”

Dane was chairman of the executive committee, secretary and treasurer of the agency when he retired in 1971.

“Mac truly cared about people, our people at the agency and in the world outside of DDB,” said Keith Reinhard, DDB Worldwide chairman, in a statement. “He established the agency’s non-discrimination policy. He set up a training program for young people, including a special program for returning Vietnam veterans. He was successful in creating an atmosphere that, in 1984, was honored as one of the 100 best places to work in the United States. Mac was proud of that recognition—only one other ad agency was on that list of 100 companies. And we were justly proud of Mac’s interest in the welfare of people beyond the agency. His list of human rights initiatives would fill a page.”

“Mac Dane was a friend and mentor,” said Harold Levine, co-founder of the former Levine, Huntley, Schmidt & Beaver. “A mentor with regard to the agency business and a mentor with regard to philanthropy. He was an enormous source of help when I started Levine, Huntley, and guided me through some of the early growing pains. Maxwell Dane was truly a good man.”

During his career, Dane chaired the special committee on equal employment opportunities for the American Association of Advertising Agencies. He also was a director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; a former chairman of the Anti-Defamation League’s National Program Committee; a former trustee of the Citizen’s Union; and member emeritus of the Board of Managers of Haverford College.

In 1933, Dane married Belle Sloan, who died in 1985. They had one child, Henry. In 1986, Dane married Esther Levine.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by three grandsons, a granddaughter, a nephew and three great grandchildren.

—Adweek staff report