L.A. Ad Agency Legend Peter Dailey Dies at 87

He founded Dailey & Associates in 1968

Peter Dailey, who founded Los Angeles-based agency Dailey & Associates in 1968, died last Saturday at the age of 87 in his Pasadena, Calif., home.

Along with Jay Chiat and others, Dailey was one of the pioneers of the Los Angeles advertising scene.

Before founding his own shop, where he served as chairman and CEO, he worked at Foote, Cone and Belding and Campbell Ewald. IPG acquired Dailey in 1983 when it was still the world’s largest holding group; the agency regained its independence last year after completing a buyback.

In addition to his career in advertising, Dailey was very active in Republican politics, serving as media advisor to Richard Nixon during the 1972 presidential election and Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. Reagan appointed him as ambassador to Ireland in 1982 as well as special presidential envoy to NATO countries for intermediate nuclear weapons negotiations the following year. Daily went on to serve as counselor to CIA director of central intelligence William Casey from 1985-1988.

He also served as a member of of the General Advisory Committee of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1987-1992 under President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. Later in life, Dailey was a board member for the U.S. National Park Foundation, the 4A’s, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Chicago Title and Trust Company and the American Irish Foundation.

“Peter Dailey passed away last Saturday. He was 87, and you can read about his remarkable and truly significant life in the accompanying obituary which was published yesterday in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times,” Dailey co-founder and former CEO Cliff Einstein wrote in a memo circulated to agency staff on Tuesday morning.

Einstein continued, “Fifty years after Pete created Dailey and Associates we continue to proudly use his name and we continue to be this generation of his associates. Pete set a standard of excellence and values that has been the heart and soul of our company since we opened our doors at the beginning of 1968.”

“He believed we could be excellent and demanding yet forgiving,” Einstein’s note read. “He required a competitive spirit but he understood that life is more than work. He thought big and from the beginning labeled us an international advertising agency. His word was a contract. His employees were his partners.”

In conclusion, Einstein wrote, “I met Pete in 1964 when he was an AE and I was a kid writer at Foote, Cone and Belding. He told me that he was planning big things and one day I would be part of the picture. His word was a contract. I saw Pete two weeks ago at the memorial service for his lifelong friend, John Gavin. I gave him my business card and it said, ‘Dailey.’ Pete looked at it a long time and I knew he knew his original dream was still alive. You now get to keep it that way.”

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.