Medill IMC Celebrates Albert Lasker and 100 Years of Modern Advertising
By Marc Zarefsky
October 27, 2010
Photo by Tommy Giglio
Several of Chicago’s premier communication companies and clients joined the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications program and more than 500 guests on Tuesday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of modern advertising, which got its start in The Windy City.
The event, titled “The Past. The Present. The Future. An Effective Marketing Communications Symposium,” honored Albert D. Lasker, who is regarded as the father of modern advertising.
To watch the event, click here.
“Lasker was an innovator to be sure,” said Medill IMC Chair Tom Collinger. “He was an investor and he was a philanthropist.
“He was a pioneer.”
Lasker became CEO of Lord & Thomas in the early 20th century and turned the Chicago-based agency into the world’s largest and most profitable agency in the early 1900s. Among his various accomplishments: the invention of orange juice and the name Sunkist, the development of Pepsodent into a leading brand, the introduction of Kotex and the establishment of Palmolive as the first beauty soap.
Lasker also sold the Chicago Cubs to Wrigley and suggested that the name of the team’s stadium be changed from Cubs Park to Wrigley Field.
Medill IMC students researched the marketing communications of Sunkist, Pepsodent, Kotex and Palmolive and presented the communication strategies and IMC principles that contributed to their success. Arthur Schultz, the former CEO of Foote, Cone & Belding – the successor to Lord & Thomas – and author of the recently released book, “The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (But True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century,” also spoke on what made Lasker such an innovator.
But the event was about more than just Lasker.
“We are coming together to not only pay tribute to Albert Lasker,” Medill Dean John Lavine said, “but to celebrate Chicago.”
To do that, Advertising Age Agency Editor Rupal Parekh moderated a six-person panel on the present state of marketing communications in Chicago. Included on the panel were Howard Draft, chairman and CEO of Draftfcb, Tony Weisman, president of the Digitas Chicago Region, Susan Credle, chief creative officer for Leo Burnett USA, Rick Carpenter, president and CEO of DDB Chicago, Dan Fietsam, chief creative officer at Energy BBDO, and Andy England, chief marketing officer at MillerCoors.
The panel touched on a variety of topics, from the need for transparency to what makes a great agency, as well as why Chicago has always been such a successful advertising city.
“I think Chicago does a better job than anywhere else of understanding the American psyche,” Carpenter said.
In comparing Chicago’s advertising history to New York City’s history, Credle explained that “Chicago built brands, they didn’t just do ads.”
To wrap up the event, Medill IMC students presented their findings from the Delphi Project on the future of integrated marketing communications. The project used a systematic, interactive forecasting method that relied on a panel of marketing communication experts to tackle the tough questions about tomorrow.
Proceeds from the symposium will go toward establishing the Albert D. Lasker Fund for the Study of the History of Marketing Communications in Chicago. For more information about the event, or about Lasker, click here.