William Bernbach

William Bernbach

William (Bill) Bernbach (August 13, 1911, New York City - October 2, 1982, New York City) was a legendary figure in the history of American advertising. He was one of the three founders of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) and directed ad campaigns such as "Think Small" for Volkswagen Beetle (recognized by Advertising Agecite web|url=http://adage.com/century/campaigns.html|title=Top 100 Advertising Campaigns of the Century|author=Bob Garfield|publisher=Advertising Age|accessdate=2006-08-15] as the top advertising campaign of the 20th century). Bernbach was noted for his devotion to creativity and offbeat themes, a legacy that has hailed him as a major force behind the Creative Revolution of the 1960s and 70s. He is also credited with being the first to combine copywriters and art directors into two-person teams—they had commonly been in separate departments—a model that still flourishes in advertising agencies today.

Other notable campaigns of Bernbach's are "We Try Harder" (Avis Car Rental), "Mikey" (Life Cereal), "You Don't Have to be Jewish to Love Levy's" (Levy's Rye Bread) and "It's so simple" (Polaroid).

The AMC program, "Mad Men", which centers on the fictional ad agency of Sterling Cooper in the early 1960s, references Bernbach; Bernbach's innovative techniques challenge Sterling Cooper's more orthodox style, and BBD is often mentioned as a competitor in the second season.


* "Logic and over-analysis can immobilize and sterilize an idea. It's like love -- the more you analyze it, the faster it disappears."
* "Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling."
* "All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level." cite web|url=http://communications.fullerton.edu/news/Faculty_news/May06_Reinhard.htm|title=Response to "Distinguished Communicator" Award|author=Keith Reinhard|publisher=California State University, Fullerton|date=2006-05-05|accessdate=2006-08-16]
* "Nobody counts the number of ads you run;they just remember the impression you make."
* "The truth isn't the truth until people believe you, and they can't believe you if they don't know what you're saying, and they can't know what you're saying if they don't listen to you, and they won't listen to you if you're not interesting, and you won't be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly." cite web|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=eRzDacpQG4oC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=Bernbach's+paradigm&source=web&ots=gMnZrWFgwS&sig=D2k9ez45tz5a3cWvaVAHqDXVXCA&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result]
*"Good advertising builds sales. Great advertising builds factories."


"Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula." -- Bill Bernbach

External links

* [http://www.advertisinghalloffame.org/members/member_bio.php?memid=540 Biography] at American Advertising Foundation's [http://www.advertisinghalloffame.org/ Advertising Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.conelrad.com/daisy/index.php CONELRAD's definitive history of the Daisy ad]
* [http://adage.com/century/people001.html "Ad Age" Advertising Century: William Bernbach]
* [http://www.ddb.com/ DDB Worldwide]
* [http://www.ciadvertising.org/studies/student/99_spring/interactive/joohwan/bernbach/ad.html Bio and Ads at The Center for Interactive Advertising]
* [http://www.adcglobal.org/archive/hof/1983/?id=425 Art Directors Club biography]

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