NEW YORK-A memorial service honoring Jack Avrett, co-chairman and founder of Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, will be held later this week. The 68-year-old agency executive died Aug. 29 from a stroke.
Avrett created the "Chow, Chow, Chow" campaign for Ralston Purina as well as the "Tiny Time Pills" ads for Contac cold medicine.
Frank Ginsberg, co-chairman and chief executive of AF&G and longtime partner of Avrett, said, "I've lost a grandparent and a parent, but I've never lost a partner. It's been very difficult."
Avrett was a past chairman of the American Advertising Federation and was a sitting board member at the time of his death of the AAF, the Advertising Club of New York and Americans for the Arts. Avrett helped found Advertising Day New York as well as the Advertising Hall of Achievement, which recognizes advertising executives under 40.
Avrett was a dedicated advocate of the industry, according to Leslie Winthrop, president of the Advertising Agency Register. "Hopefully people will feel a sincere need to continue what he started," she said.
Active with the AAF, Avrett recently helped establish a new category of the American Advertising Awards, acknowledging the achievement of campaigns promoting the arts.
Wally Snyder, current president of the AAF, remembers Avrett as a strong creative force. "He just had great ideas," said Snyder, "and that's what the heart of this industry is."
AF&G currently ranks as one of the largest independent shops in New York, with around $350 million in billings from longtime clients such as Ralston Purina, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Binney & Smith's Crayola line.
Prior to founding the agency, Avrett worked at Foote, Cone & Belding, Grey Advertising and the former Wells Rich Greene, all in New York. He was also president of Marschalk, now Lowe & Partners/SMS here.
In 1971, he founded The Project Group, a creative-only agency. The shop later expanded and added two partners, Ginsberg and Marcella Free, now retired. The agency became Avrett, Free & Ginsberg in 1983.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, Sept. 11, at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home and chapel at 81st Street and Madison Avenue here, at 4:30 p.m. Avrett is survived by his wife, Roz, and their family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Metropolitan Opera of New York.