Jack Goldsmith, co-founder of Pittsburgh agency MARC USA and one of the fathers of McDonald's Big Mac, died on Jan. 6 at the age of 89.
Goldsmith worked closely with client Jim Delligatti, Western Pennsylvania's leading McDonald's franchisee and inventor of the Big Mac (who also passed away this past November at the age of 98), to create and name a new sandwich to fit the hearty appetites of Western Pennsylvanians. They originally named the sandwich the Big Mac Super Sandwich, and Goldsmith was instrumental in convincing McDonald's corporate to roll out the idea.
The Big Mac debuted in a Pittsburgh-area pilot program supported by ads from Goldsmith's MARC USA; it went on to conquer the rest of the country. Goldsmith was also influential in introducing McDonald's breakfast to the area decades before Leo Burnett promoted its All Day Breakfast initiative.
The earliest available Big Mac ad aired in 1968.
Goldsmith was one of the first ad men to recognize and communicate that his commitment to clients went beyond merely making ads, and this philosophy was reflected in the name of the agency he co-founded: Marketing Advertising Research Consultants (MARC). The agency currently has offices in Chicago and Boston, in addition to its Pittsburgh headquarters, and counts Rite Aid, Nascar, True Value Hardware and Pennsylvania Lottery among its clients. MARC USA also creates sizable pro-bono campaigns for the Pittsburgh Zoo and Pittsburgh Opera.
Eastport Holdings acquired the company in 2015 for an undisclosed sum.
"Jack led purely by example, and he was quick to give credit to everyone in the agency besides himself," MARC USA chairman Tony Bucci said in a statement. "He was a smart businessman and his gentle, engaging personality made clients and employees very comfortable. His style, humor and warmth were the reasons we were successful."
During a second career as a marketing consultant, Goldsmith helped brands including Pizza Hut, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Rent-A-Center and Long John Silver's maximize their marketing efforts.
Following his retirement in 1996, he focused on altruistic pursuits, including serving on the board of directors for local women's homeless shelter Bethlehem Haven and Camp Kon-o-Kwee Spencer (YMCA). He also was a notable donor to a series of non-profit organizations, his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, and the United Jewish Federation.