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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding68
I
became president of Y&R International in 1965 and head of the agency in 1970. I inher-
ited a few problems. In 1971, the worldwide economic recession hit Y&R, our clients, and
the advertising business as a whole, really hard. We weren’t growing, our payrolls were
now too high, and we needed to cut back on expenses.
As chairman and chief executive officer, I made the necessary cutbacks and led a changing
of the guard, appointing Alex Kroll as creative director and Alex Brody as head of our inter-
national operations. But the turning point happened when a group of the key leaders and
I went off to rethink what we were and what we wanted to be. We knew the economy
would improve and that our leaner business would grow again, but we also recognized that
change was now a constant in the world. Along with our clients, we needed to understand
how to prepare to meet new challenges. After days of some pretty intense analysis and
introspection, we came to the conclusion that our clients were going to need more from us
than just our proven advertising prowess.
So, in June 1972, we finalized our new mission statement: We wanted to be the best in
responsible commercial communications on a worldwide basis. Notice the absence of the
word “advertising. It seems so axiomatic now, but I do believe we were the first to stake
out this new, much broader territory. In a relatively short time, we started to bring this
vision to life. Lester Wunderman and his pioneering direct-marketing agency came aboard,
as did Matt Hennessey and his leading healthcare agency, Sudler & Hennessey. We merged
a number of U.S. regional agencies into a new division and, in 1975, acquired Cato Johnson.
The next merger, one that gave me a lot of satisfaction after seven years of pursuit, brought
Bill Marstellar and Harold Burson and their outstanding public relations firm, Burson
Marstellar, into the fold.
A Perspective
EDWARD NEY, President and Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam
Advertising, New York, NY
Edward Ney, former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Young
& Rubicam Inc., is credited with the concept of integrated communication
specialties (public relations, direct marketing, et al) into Y&R, calling the new
offering the “Whole Egg. Former ambassador to Canada from 1989 to 1992,
Ney serves on the International Advisory Board of the Center for Strategic &
International Studies (CSIS), is a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and
an honorary chairman of the Ad Council. He is a trustee of the Paley Center
for Media and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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69Twelve Key Determinants to Creating Successful Brands
These three house ads
from different decades
demonstrate that,
although styles change,
Y&R’s commitment to
creativity does not.
In 1981, again after some years of discussion, we merged our Tokyo office into a joint
venture with Dentsu, the very large Japanese agency. The new subsidiary, called DYR, was
intended to give Dentsu a firmer foothold outside of Japan and strengthen our position in
Japan. The next few years were good ones for us across the board, but in 1985, it was time
for me to step down. Alex Kroll became CEO, and the agency continued its success through
the eighties. In the late 1990s, Y&R successfully went public, and today it’s an independent
arm of WPP.
My perspective today, through all the changes I’ve witnessed and experienced, is essentially
the same. We must help clients build meaningful connections in the lives of their customers.
We still believe in creating ideas that act as catalysts for building businesses, big ideas that
travel well and create real, measurable change for client partners.
A Perspective
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