Bill Bernbach was born August 13, 1911 to Rebecca and Jacob Bernbach, to most people he is the Father of the Creative Revolution. He attended New York City public schools and in 1932 earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University. He had majored in English but also studied philosophy, business administration, and music which he played the piano. In 1933, Bernbach took a job running the Schenley Distillers mailroom.
This was during the Great Depression. He wrote an ad for Schenley’s American Cream Whiskey, which he got into the right hands and the ad ran which he was promoted to the advertising department. He left Schenley in 1939 to ghost-write for Grover Whalen, the head of the1939 Worlds Fair and the following year he entered the advertising industry at the William Weintraub agency. From there became Creative Director Grey Advertising in 1947 Bernbach was one of the three founders in 1949 of the international advertising agency “Doyle Dane Bernbach”. He directed many of the firm’s breakthrough ad campaigns, such as Volkswagen, Avis, and the 1964 presidential election which had a lasting impact on the creative team structures now commonly used by ad agencies.
Bernbach played an integral role in the writing of advertising, distancing himself from the administrative and promotional aspects of the business which were left to Dane. He served as the creative engine behind the agency helping building there networth to more than $40 million by the time he retired. Bernbach was noted for his dedication to creativity and offbeat themes, a legacy that has credited him as a major force behind the Creative Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. His work often was characterized by simplicity. He also is credited with being the first to combine copywriters and art directors together which were commonly separate departments.
This model still exists in advertising agencies today. Bill Bernbach, the legendary founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach, ignited the creative revolution and changed the world of communications and business forever. He was a philosopher, a scientist, a humanitarian. And his influence was felt well beyond the world of advertising. The industry faces a new creative revolution, Bernbach’s ideas and keen insights into human nature may be more relevant than ever. His timeless words have inspired thousands of creative men and women around the world.