Why Bernbach Matters

Deep Influence

Creative Revolutionary

100 years old and still teaching, still leading: Lessons from Bill Bernbach.

"The product, the product. Stay with the product. Simple and authentic....The difference between the forgettable and the enduring is artistry...I fear all the sins we commit in the name of Creativity."

This and more as remembered by those who worked with him and those who wish they had.

Aug. 8-21, 2011 Adweek - Bernbach at 100

This article was first published in Adweek, August 8-21, 2011

Deep Influence

How Bernbach Changed Everything

By Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus DDB Worldwide

If my boyhood dream was to find a life in advertising, my earliest idol was Bill Bernbach, the legendary founder of DDB. I used to tear out the pages of Life magazine that contained the great Volkswagen ads. I'd tape them to my wall and admire their simplicity, their unique tone of voice, their irony and wit. But even though I like to think of myself as a dreamer of big dreams and thought of one day heading the agency that changed advertising forever would have, even for me, qualified as an impossible dream.

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Deep Influence

Everything I know about planning I learned from bernbach

By Juan Isaza, Strategic Planning VP DDB Mexico

Very often, advertising students and young practitioners ask me what you need to know in order to become a good strategic planner. It appears that in our universities, there is a very clear guide for those who want to be on the creative side or the account side. However, planning is still a dark area discovered only by those that come to work in an agency, maybe because they see how it works in the real world but rarely because there is a formal description for the position.

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Deep Influence

Working for Mr. Bernbach

By Bob Kuperman, Former President and Chief Executive Officer DDB New York

My first meeting (if you could call it that) with Bill Bernbach was in an elevator. He said: "Hello." I mumbled a weak "Hello, Mr Bernbach" in return.

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I was 22 years old, fresh out of art school and had been at Doyle Dane Bernbach for one month. It was 1963, and by then most of the first shots of what became known as the "creative revolution" had been fired - mostly by Bernbach and his troops.

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Deep Influence

Working with a Legend

By Bob Levenson, Former Creative Director & Chairman DDB International

Bill Bernbach had the nerve and the wit to hire me in 1959. Some years later, I had the nerve and the wit to hire Bob Kuperman. Neither event made any headlines. Typically, people made headlines when they left Doyle Dane Bernbach, not when they got hired.

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Deep Influence

Bill Bernbach's Top 3 Quotes

In order to mark the hundredth birthday of the famous advertising expert, a week ago DDB Latvia launched a search through its website in order to find the best quote of the century by Bill Bernbach. After a week of voting, a Top 3 was formed out of more than eighty of his well-known quotes:

  • #1 Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.
  • #2 Adapt your techniques to an idea, not an idea to your techniques.

Third place is shared by two quotes that received an equal number of votes:

  • #3 A great ad campaign will make bad product fail faster. It will get more people knowing it's bad.
  • #3 Word of mouth is the best medium of all.

The influence and popularity of the famous advertising expert is undeniable. Within a week the voting on the DDB website has been generated by people from 32 countries around the world, including the US, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, France, Russia, Spain, Australia and many other countries. In total more than a thousand votes were cast for the quotes.

As promised, everyone who shared the chance of voting with their friends or followers were entered into a lottery. The grand prize was a book of Bill Bernbach's quotes.


Thank you to everyone who took part in the voting and marked the birthday of Bill Bernbach along with us!