Diary: Ted Bell

Ted Bell, president and chief creative officer, Leo Burnett U.S.A., told members of the Chicago Magazine Association at a luncheon last week that all modern print has three things in common: William Bernbach, Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy.
‘Each of these three men, in specific and not unrelated ways, had a profound effect on the way print advertising looks and sounds today,’ Bell said. ‘And since I was able to bluff my way into a copywriter slot at two of their three agencies, I’ve brought along a few examples of print from DDB and Burnett that illustrate my points of view.’
Bell showed famous DDB campaigns from Volkswagen and Chivas Regal, the latter he worked on with art director Charlie Piccirillo, and Marlboro Medium and Dewars ads from Burnett. ‘Cars, booze and cigarettes. Funny how three little words can so vividly capture one’s entire life work,’ he said.
Showing the famous VW Beatle ads of the late 1960s and early ’70s, Bell began his presentation with that campaign ‘because it was Helmut Krone and Bob Levenson at DDB who fired one of the opening salvos of what was then called the ‘advertising revolution.’ Certainly DDB was at the fore-front of the charge,’ he said.
Bell did find some time to joke about three of the most famous names in advertising. ‘Don’t you find it interesting to read in the trades that all these young fellows in New York are scrambling to ‘assume the mantle of Bill Bernbach’?’ Bell said. ‘Now I am seldom wont to be the bearer of disappointing tidings, but I do have a newsflash here. Namely, when Bill Bernbach went to heaven, he took his mantle with him. Likewise Leo Burnett. And if you ever see David Ogilvy not wearing his, you can assume he’s only sent it to the cleaners to get out an unfortuante spattering of brie or splash of vintage claret.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)