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.
Q: What do people say about you behind your back? To your face?
Boyko: I’m a pain in their ass on the first one. And the second one is that I’m passionate.
Rodgers: Behind my back, they say: “He’s too nice. He’s too trusting.” Ironically, what they say to my face is: “Thank you.”
Drake: I suspect that what people say behind my back is that I can be a little abrupt. To my face, they tell me I have a nice tan.
Kennedy: I don’t have a clue. They probably bitch about my incompetence with the computer. I’m terrible, I’m such a slow typer that I avoid email and can never remember what to do next. Technically I’m an idiot. It’s frustrating for people to communicate with me. They say that to my face too.
Q: What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from the experience?
Boyko: When I first started at Leo Burnett, one of my first bosses hated his job. I asked why he stayed if he hated it so much and he said he was making too much money. I learned from him that I would never take a job for money nor be afraid to walk away from one when I was not happy. I took a huge cut in pay to come to this school, but it’s a better legacy than doing another ad, it’s more fun and it’s more rewarding.
Drake: In the work realm, my biggest mistake was agreeing with Foote Cone to go back to London after they merged the New York agency. I didn’t get along too well with my boss and I never should have gone. The lesson was that I should have followed my instincts and put my foot down.
Zubizarreta: It wasn’t really a mistake, but she had a job commuting to Puerto Rico for an advertising agency in the early ‘70s when my brother and I were children. Every Monday she would leave home and not get back until Friday. Eventually she couldn’t do it anymore and every Monday, she would get sick; finally she was fired. So she opened her own agency. It wasn’t really a mistake—it was just life circumstances being thrown at her. She had to decide how to play that deck of cards and she played it very well.
Q: What one memento do you have that best symbolizes your career?
Kelmenson: A letter from Henry Ford that wishes him good luck with the Chrysler new business. It was an unsolicited letter in which [Ford] said he’d never been fired by an advertising agency before, but he wished him good luck.
Rodgers: In my home office, not on my desk but on a bookshelf, I have the black manual Royal typewriter that I used in my first job as a print journalist when I worked for Sports Illustrated. In addition to that, my wife’s first name is Royal. Every day I’m reminded of my wife Royal and where I came from.
Drake: My father [Owen Burtch “Obie” Winters] is also in the Advertising Hall of Fame and I have his trophy. My mother and I accepted the award when he was inducted in 1984. I kept that trophy in my office wherever I worked and it’s now on the bookshelf by my desk.
Zubizarreta: Mom was on the cover of Adweek in 1996 when she had just landed the Ford account, which put the agency into a different stratosphere.
Kennedy: I’m a collector of junk so I have a million mementoes. One that’s interesting is based on my love of print-making. I fell in love with wood type and I bought some years ago to make a table out of. It’s covered with glass and has assorted wood type figures and characters and designs. It was in my office for years as my coffee table and is now in my studio.
Q: What inspires you?
Rodgers: What inspires me everyday are people who overcome some sort of adversity in their lives—physical, mental, social or economic. I love American dream stories, where people are first-generation something. That inspires me because everyone truly does have an opportunity.
Zubizarreta: People. People’s stories. People’s lives. Life and living it well. On her tombstone is a Spanish saying that basically means: Let them try and take away from me what I’ve already danced.
Kelmenson: Spring and poetry. Leo wrote poetry and even has a book of poetry in the Kennedy Library [Epilogue] about his war experiences. He won the Silver Quill Award [in 1955] for that book.
Kennedy: I’m inspired by so many things. I guess I’m inspired by things I perceive to be beautiful. Wieden has said I’m addicted to beauty—I see beauty in the garbage on the street. And I’m particularly inspired by the work we do for the American Indian College Fund, which is my real passion in life.
Q: Who was your mentor? How did he or she help you?
Boyko: I have had several mentors throughout my career including fellow inductees David Kennedy, Jay Chiat and Charlotte Beers in addition to Guy Day and my partners Bill Gray and Bill Hamilton. But I would say the one person who most influenced me was Lee Clow. He was someone who continually challenged you to strive for greatness and to not give up trying.
Kennedy: I have so many mentors and often they were my peers. But my father was a huge influence on me. He was an extremely kind and generous man and I grew up in a world where people didn’t have a lot of money and they were very creative and had to make a lot of necessities of life. So now that I look back on it, I grew up in a very creative atmosphere.
Lafley: I was fortunate to work for and with a number of individuals who took an interest in me, and took the time and effort to coach, teach, train me. Fortunately, I am a lifelong learner who learns from experience and experiences.
Q: What is your greatest unknown talent?
Rodgers: Like many people of my generation, I still own and play on occasion my electric Gibson guitar. I was good back then, but now I’m one of those old guys. I’m not even good enough to go to the garage to play; I have to do it in my office.
Kennedy: I grew up around guns and I was a graduate of the United States Marine Corps. Charm School so I spent a lot of time shooting. I’m a really good shot.
Q: What trend has had the biggest impact on the advertising industry?
Rodgers: Multiplatform targeted marketing. We will continue to target audiences, but you can’t only target them using one platform.
Drake: No question about it, the whole digital revolution and everything that has followed on its heels—it’s turned media and advertising and marketing upside down.
Kennedy: The electronic revolution has completely changed the world, especially the world of communications. Magazines are going out business daily and people text more than they use the telephone. A lot of our effort is going into digital expressions of our message now, which is the gigantic change.
Zubizarreta: In terms of Hispanic trends, the census, in 2000 and 2010, had a huge impact on marketing to Hispanics. That jump was impressive.
Q: What current industry trend won’t last?
Boyko: Believing talent is drawn to our industry and therefore not investing in it. Agencies used to be a training ground for young talent—which drew talent to the industry. We’ve lost so many young people to other industries, like software companies and video games.
Drake: I’ve never been a very good prognosticator, but I have some question about whether Facebook will continue to be the force that it is currently. I also think the unrelenting focus on the 18 to 49 demographic will start to ease up because too many of us are over 50 now—I expect we’ll start to pay more attention to that group.
Zubizarreta: The unbundling of services—media and strategy and creative. We think that’s going to start coming back to clients looking for one full-service agency that does it all as opposed to having a media buying service and an agency for creative and strategy…bringing everything back in house into one full-service agency of record so that all of the departments work better together.
Q: What made you a success?
Zubizarreta: People trusted [my mother]. She was not shy about telling you what you had to do, even if it’s not what you wanted to hear—and she was always right. She had an incredible “gut” and incredible common sense.
Boyko: Just trying things and not being afraid to fail. What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll fire me. If you take that attitude and feel confident that you can do something else, you take the shackles off yourself.
Lafley: The power of teamwork. Mission and goal clarity. A choiceful strategy to win. The right players in the right roles. An “all for one, one for all”...”one team, one dream” mindset. Everyone engaged and everyone executing to the best of her/his ability.
Q: What superhero power would you like to have?
Kennedy: I think probably to be able to fly. I grew up out in the plains and I used to admire birds of prey—hawks and eagles—and I still do. I could watch them all day.
Rodgers: I was the skinny guy on the beach so I’d love for it to be strength. And you know what I’d do? I’d love to be able to threaten to kick people’s ass and actually mean it.
Q: What is your motto?
Kennedy: We have a motto here that is sort of our company motto. It came out of our lifestyle and our philosophy and our work ethic: “The work comes first.”
Kelmenson: Leo’s motto was always: Semper fi. He was always faithful to his business and to his ideals and his responsibilities.
Boyko: I don’t really have a motto. But one philosophy that I have used to guide me throughout my career is: “It’s always easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.”
Zubizarreta: She had two. The first applied to her professional life: “I don’t know, but I’ll learn.” That was how she landed her first job. The second encompasses her more as a human being, but also was part of her business philosophy. It’s a long quote, but the end is: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”
Lafley: Know thyself...be thyself.