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What Makes a Legend Tick?

Seven industry leaders join the Advertising Hall of Fame
  • March 18 2012

Their names are familiar. And so are their stories. After all, the seven 2012 inductees into the Advertising Hall of Fame have made significant contributions to the industry, each leaving his or her own mark in a key segment of the marketing universe.

The inductees are:

  • Rick Boyko, former chief creative officer and co-president of Ogilvy & Mather North America who now heads up VCU Brandcenter, from which he retires this June.
  • O. Burtch Drake, former president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), where he tirelessly worked to support the advertising industry.
  • Leo-Arthur Kelmenson (1927-2011), best known for creating the ad campaign that helped revive the ailing Chrysler Corporation in 1979 as CEO of Kenyon & Eckhardt.
  • David Kennedy, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, who, though officially “retired” since the mid-1990s, continues to do pro bono work. 
  • A.G. Lafley, former chairman of the board, president and  CEO of P&G, which, under his leadership, doubled its sales and quadrupled its profits.
  • Johnathan A. Rodgers, former executive at CBS and Discovery Networks, who brought his vision to the then-emerging TV One as president and CEO of the cable television network targeting adult African Americans. 
  • Tere A. Zubizarreta (1937-2007), founder of Zubi Advertising, who started out as a secretary, whose own agency became a force in changing the ways American marketers reach Hispanics.
  • Also being honored is The Coca-Cola Company, which will join P&G and General Motors as an advertising industry icon.


“This year’s inductees represent all aspects of the  advertising industry from clients to agencies to media to not-for-profit organizations,” notes James Edmund Datri, president and CEO of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), which administers the Hall of Fame.

But what really makes these industry legends tick? We asked them about their inspiration, their accomplishments and the traits that made them successful. See the following pages for their responses.


Q: Tell us what you’ve been up to lately.

Johnathan Rodgers: I am officially retired, but I’m still serving on three corporate boards—all of which are somehow related to advertising: Procter & Gamble, which is the world’s largest advertiser; Nike, which is the world’s coolest advertiser; and Comcast NBCU, which is now the world’s largest advertising platform. After retiring this past July, I’m enjoying not being told what to do. 

David Kennedy: I’m still working. I retired in—oh, I don’t remember exactly when I theoretically retired; I think it was 1994?—but I could never find the door. I got involved in the American Indian College Fund, which is our pro bono account, and I still continue to work on that. That’s sort of my labor of love. I come in to the office a minimum of a couple of times a week.

Burtch Drake: I retired to Arizona about three and a half years ago. I am completely 100-percent retired. Basically all I’m doing is working on my golf and tennis games.

Rick Boyko: I’m director of the VCU Brandcenter and have been for nine years. It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m retiring on June 30. My intent as I step back from the school is to make up for much of the time I did not spend with my family and enjoy them and my grandchildren. I’m also working with some friends to develop a creative leadership training program for marketers—I want to develop it and participate in it, but I don’t want to run it or work on it full time.

A.G. Lafley: Special Partner at Clayton, Dubilier and Rice (a private equity company); director at GE and at Legendary Pictures; chairman of Hamilton College Trustees; member of the President’s Job Council; consultant, coach, teacher and writer. [I’m just] finishing a book on strategy, Play to Win, which will be released in early 2013.

Q: What quality do you most admire in yourself? In others?

Lafley: Courage…to do the right thing...to put everything you have in you on the line today, win, lose or draw...and then to come back and do it again the next day...and every day as long as you are competing in the game. A courageous competitor.

Boyko: I have always believed you must remain curious and willing to try new things. I’ve seen too many people along the way who were comfortable in what they were doing and were afraid to try new things or change and move in a different direction.

Rodgers: In myself, enough self-confidence to trust others to complete a task. What I admire in others is tunnel vision. I wish I could have tunnel vision—just see the goal line and march to it. What other people think does matter to me, how they feel does matter to me, the impact of our actions does matter to me—but I admire those who have tunnel vision.

Drake: I would say brevity. And in others, honesty.

Michelle Zubizarreta (daughter of Tere Zubizarreta): One of the things Mom most admired about herself is that she was very fair and very giving; compassionate and non-prejudicial, which also gave her very much of an open mind. She admired those same things in others.

Gayle Kelmenson (widow of Leo-Arthur Kelmenson): Leo admired in himself his perseverance in adversity and his resilience; also his desire to help and be available to anyone who asked for help in business and outside of business. In others, he admired honesty and loyalty.


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