Oliver McAteer
Jan 14, 2019

Lester Wunderman passes away aged 98

"Father of direct marketing" created a trillion-dollar industry.

Lester Wunderman
Lester Wunderman

Lester Wunderman, the chairman emeritus and founder of Wunderman, died of natural causes at the age of 98 in New York on January 9.

A trailblazer in the advertising industry, Wunderman launched a new kind of advertising agency in 1958—one that focused on delivering sales for its clients. That agency concept led to the creation of today’s trillion-dollar direct marketing industry. 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.

"Lester was a true visionary with a lifelong commitment to innovation and creativity," said Mark Read, CEO, WPP. "He will be remembered and respected for his achievements and revered as a friend and colleague."

Wunderman is fondly remembered by Sue, whom he married in 1975, his son Marc and daughter Karen and three stepchildren, Patrick, James and Thomas. He is also remembered and revered by the thousands of people who work for the agency that bears his name. 

While he left the helm of Wunderman in 1998, he reported to work every day at the agency’s offices, where he often visited with clients, executives and interns alike.

Wunderman was born in 1920 in the Bronx. After an apprenticeship served at several agencies, he 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, Wunderman identified, named and defined direct marketing which led the theoretical and practical growth of the industry ever since. As a result of that speech, he was named "The Father of Direct Marketing."

Source:
Campaign US

Related Articles

Just Published

8 hours ago

Curiously colourful creatures conquer new HP campaign

The MediaMonks social-first campaign utilises the talents of Aussie artist Mulga, known for his vibrant illustrations.

9 hours ago

Move and win roundup: Week of May 16, 2022

Wunderman Thompson, LoopMe, Jack Morton, Weber Shandwick, Carat, and more to come in our weekly round-up of people moves and account wins.

10 hours ago

BBDO's ups and downs stabilises in 2021

AGENCY REPORT CARD: After a tough year of office closures, BBDO overturned its struggles and finished 2021 with double-digit growth while making compelling pieces of work in many markets.

11 hours ago

Budweiser's APAC CMO on 'effortless marketing'

Matt Che expands on building a beer empire in the region, sticking to its brand purpose through inclusivity while celebrating seasonal events and using experiential tech to leverage consumer insights.