Ex-Ad Exec Arnold Rosoff Dies


Arnold Rosoff, one of the pillars of the ad business in New England, a stalwart champion of social justice and the man who in 1946 founded the shop that ultimately morphed into Havas' Arnold, has died. He was 93.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Temple Shalom, 175 Temple St. in West Newton, Mass.

Edward Boches, CCO at Mullen in Boston, said of Rosoff: "Arnold was one of the kindest people who ever worked in the business. He gave more than he took, and continued to do so well after retirement with all of his charitable efforts. Once upon a time this business was dominated by individuals like Arnold whose presence was felt beyond just their names on the door. I'm afraid those days are coming to an end."

Boston's Ad Club is collecting memories of Arnold Rosoff on its Facebook page.

The club's annual Rosoff Awards celebrating achievement in workforce diversity are named for him, and he attended the ceremony earlier this year.

Kathy Kiely, Ad Club president, issued this statement: "Arnold Rosoff was a man that made me feel very proud to be in the same business. His passion for Advertising was only eclipsed by his passion for young talent. Arnold Rosoff was a huge believer in diversity. He started the Rosoff Awards to recognize companies who had meaningful diversity initiatives because he believed that diversity was not just about social justice but that diversity was crucial to any successful business strategy. It was just plain good business. Arnold Rosoff had a twinkle in his eyes and the sharpest of wits...neither one ever dulled with time."

Rosoff, born in Boston and educated at Harvard, worked at a small ad shop before World War II and -- on the side -- devised ads for a restaurant his parents ran on Summer Street.

Serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) in WWII, he rose to the rank of major, flying 100s of missions and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

After the war, he founded Arnold & Co. in Boston. Stop & Shop, long before it became a regional household name, was among his agency's first accounts. Key clients that followed included Fayva, McDonald's regional co-op assignments and John Hancock.

During his tenure, the shop became known for fusing intensive account service with creative concepts designed to grow brands over the long haul. As a leader, Rosoff was noted for his keen business insight, intelligence and for running one of the most progressive operations of its time, particularly in terms of employee relations.

Some competitors -- especially during the 70s and early-80s as Boston's ad scene boomed -- criticized his approach as too soft, but the agency became legendary for its long retention of talented staffers and major accounts. Rosoff's humane and thoughtful style inspired, to varying degrees, a younger generation of agency chiefs like Michael Bronner (of Digitas), Jack Connors (Hill, Holliday), Bink Garrison (Ingalls) and Jim Mullen (Mullen).

By the time Rosoff retired from the shop at age 69 in 1985, Arnold & Co. claimed some $50 million in billings. He sold the company to his staff through an employee stock ownership plan, but remained active in the ad community and in public service.

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