Dusenberry Leaves Lasting Legacy

NEW YORK Ad legend Phil Dusenberry, the former chairman and chief creative officer of Omnicom’s BBDO North America, died Dec. 29 after battling lung cancer for a year. He was 71. Over the years, his work won virtually every industry award, including Addys, Clios, One Show Pencils and Cannes Lions. Dusenberry was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 2003 and the One Club Creative Hall of Fame in October. He initially joined BBDO in 1962 as a junior copywriter and went on to help create some of the most memorable slogans in ad history, including GE’s “We bring good things to life” and Visa’s “It’s everywhere you want to be.” His most famous work, though, was his celebrity-filled spots for Pepsi that branded the cola as “The choice of a new generation.” Dusenberry’s interests extended beyond the agency world. He was a key member of the Tuesday Team that helped reelect Ronald Reagan in 1984. Subsequently, his 18-minute documentary tribute film, Final Journey, became a permanent addition to the Reagan Presidential Library. A lifelong baseball fan, he was the co-screenwriter of the 1984 Robert Redford movie The Natural. His memoir, published in 2005, is titled One Great Insight Is Worth a Thousand Good Ideas. “Phil was indeed one of the truly great creative leaders in the history of advertising,” said Allen Rosenshine, former global chairman and CEO of BBDO. “He had an unerring instinct for the insight that elevates a good advertising idea to an emotional and human experience. Having Phil as a partner was one of the things I loved most about being in our business.” Dusenberry is survived by his wife, Susan; a stepson, Ben Procter; a daughter-in-law, Ilana Sparrow; a brother, Harry, and his wife, Marcy; a brother, Joseph; a sister, Jean Driscoll, and her husband, Jack; and 11 nieces, nephews and extended family members. Donations may be made in Dusenberry’s name to the Coalition for the Homeless Development Department, 129 Fulton St., New York, N.Y. 10038, or the St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105.