SOURCE: Wunderman


June 21, 2010 00:00 ET

Wunderman Celebrates Their Father's 90th Birthday

Lester Wunderman, Advertising Legend, Responsible for Many Marketing Innovations Has Spent Over Half a Century in the Industry

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 21, 2010) - The man known to many in the advertising industry as the "Father of Direct Marketing," Lester Wunderman, turns 90 today. Lester Wunderman, who serves as chairman emeritus of the company that bears his name, has forged a career that reads like a list of firsts. Wunderman and his agency are responsible for the magazine subscription card, loyalty rewards programs and the toll-free 1-800 number. Mr. Wunderman continues to come into the office each day where he meets with clients and colleagues alike. Wunderman is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

"Lester is a living legend and someone who has had a profound impact on all those who have been fortunate to know him," said Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO, Wunderman. "I consider myself among the lucky who have known him well."

Meeting with well-wishers at Wunderman's New York office, Mr. Wunderman told the assembled audience, "There are three things I want you to have curiosity, to be professional and to work with one another as a family so we can be the best agency for our clients..."

Mr. Wunderman is an advertising legend and the pioneering father of direct marketing. The visionary marketing techniques he conceived and perfected over his long and brilliant career transformed the advertising industry and continue to shape the interactive marketplace.
"For over half of Lester's long and productive life, he has dedicated himself to the advertising industry. We at Wunderman are conscious every day that we represent his name and legacy," said David Sable, vice chairman and COO, Wunderman. "He is the glue that binds our network of offices together." 

After an apprenticeship served at several agencies, Mr. Wunderman joined Maxwell Sackheim & Company in 1947, where he became executive vice president. In 1958, he founded Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline, now known as Wunderman.

In 1967, in an address at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Wunderman identified, named and defined Direct Marketing and has led the theoretical and practical growth of the industry ever since. He has received many awards and tributes from the direct marketing industry, including inductions into the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame in 1983, and the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.

His book, Being Direct, was published by Random House in January 1997 and reissued in 2004 with new information, including the first-ever Consumer's Communications Bill of Rights and his views on the Internet. An earlier book, Frontiers of Direct Marketing, was published in 1981, and his speeches and articles have appeared in publications worldwide.

Mr. Wunderman became fascinated by photography many years ago, studying at The New School in New York City and working privately with several well-known photographers. Years ago, he met regularly with Cornell Capa, Carl Katz and Jacqueline Kennedy to discuss the possibility of a professional school of photography. And so the International Center of Photography was born and has thrived ever since.

Mr. Wunderman, a native New Yorker, has his collection of Dogon sculpture on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with his photographs, which remain in its permanent collection. In addition, some of his photographs have become part of the permanent collection in the Dapper Foundation in Paris, which is now part of the Louvre Museum.

Born in the Bronx, Mr. Wunderman and his wife Sue (Cott) currently make their home in Manhattan.

About Wunderman
Wunderman is the original architect of response-driven marketing, an estimated trillion dollar global industry. With 50+ years of experience, 130+ offices in 55+ countries and 15 specialized companies, Wunderman stands as the first name in advertising that delivers customer conversations that build brands and generate sales. Wunderman, part of Young & Rubicam Brands, is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

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