Famed Art Director Len Sirowitz Dies at 91

By Kyle O'Brien 

New York advertising art director Len Sirowitz has died at 91, according to multiple sources, including the New York Times.

Sirowitz may be best known for his iconic ads for Volkswagen, including the memorable Beetle ads, including “Will We Ever Kill the Bug?” during his superstar run at Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB).

Credit: Doyle Dane Bernbach for VW


But Sirowitz was more than VW. He also created ads for Mobil, Sony, Laura Scudder Potato Chips, Sara Lee, Sony and Parker Pens. He and copywriting partner Robert Levenson created the catchy “Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.”

For Sony, he showed a man on a chair staring down at a four-inch television with the caption “Pee Wee Tee Vee.”

Credit: Doyle Dane Bernbach for Sony

Aside from thought-provoking and whimsical brand ads, Sirowitz was an anti-war advocate, doing pro-bono work for the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and the Coalition for a Democratic Alternative.

Sirowitz was born on June 25, 1932, in Brooklyn, went to the Pratt Institute, spent time in the Army and found early work at the L.W. Frohlich agency, Grey, CBS and Channel 13 in New York before heading to DDB.

Famed art director Len Sirowitz has died at age 91. Credit: Doyle Dane Bernbach

In 1970, Sirowitz left to start the agency Harper Rosenfeld Sirowitz, which had clients including McDonald’s, Royal Caribbean and Swissair. He joined Ryan Drossman & Partners in 1995 as vice chairman before retiring and spending time at the Art Students League to continue his love of art.

He received numerous accolades for his work over the decades, including being named the ”The Number One Art Director in America” in 1968 and 1970 polls taken by Ad Weekly. He was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1985.

Sirowitz died at home in Manhattan on March 4 surrounded by his family, according to his obituary.