Sulcer, 77, Former DDB Needham Exec, Dies

NEW YORK Frederick D. “Sandy” Sulcer, a former executive at DDB Needham Worldwide, died Sunday in Manhattan, due to a stroke. He was 77.

Sulcer held many titles, including vice chairman of DDB Needham Worldwide, chairman of Needham Harper & Steers International and president of its New York division, said a representative for Omnicom, the parent of DDB Worldwide.

He directed new business development for DDB Needham Worldwide and Benton & Bowles, among other agencies. Sulcer began his career at Needham Harper & Steers in Chicago, where he became a creative director. He created the well-known “Put a tiger in your tank” theme line for Esso (now ExxonMobil) and wrote jingles such as “Never borrow money needlessly, but when you must, trust HFC,” for Household Finance Corp.

Sulcer also led his clients to support advertising industry public service initiatives, creating the “Buckle Up for Safety” seat-belt campaign for the Advertising Council and sponsoring programs such as “Of Black America” with Xerox, for which his work was recognized by President Gerald Ford. His daughter, Ginna Marston, followed her father into advertising and co-founded the nation’s nonprofit media campaign against drug abuse, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, in 1986.

Frederick Durham Sulcer was born in Chicago on Aug. 28, 1926. Growing up during the Depression, he ran a local egg delivery service to help pay family bills. He won a scholarship to the University of Chicago, where he was editor of The Maroon and wrote a column for a Chicago newspaper. He was an actor with the Quadrangle Players theater group. He held BA and MBA degrees from the University of Chicago, and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.

After retiring from DDB Needham, Sulcer taught a graduate seminar at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He also authored numerous articles for business journals and professional publications of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and by three children: Tom of Summit, N.J.; David of Santa Clara, Calif.; and Marston of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home on Madison Avenue at 81st Street in New York on Friday, Jan. 30 at 3:30 p.m.