1902 - 1972
Su habilidad para los negocios lleva a BBDO a tener un entusiasmo mundial por la TV, después de la 2ª Guerra, modernizando el negocio y ubicando el 80% del presupuesto en este medio. Desde el peor sitio de Manhattan y sin terminar la escuela, asciende desde el cuarto de correo hasta Presidente de BBDO en 1946. Hábil comprando radio, este carismático líder convierte prácticamente la agencia en un estudio de TV, creando la edad dorada de las ofertas por TV y uniéndolas a sus clientes 7 noches por semana. En su década como Presidente, la facturación crece de U$50 a U$200 millones. Sus lazos cercanos con Dwight Eisenhower llevan a BBDO a asesorar las campañas presidenciales del 52 y el 56.
Bernard C. Duffy, who headed Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO) for 10 years, was a prominent advertising figure for more than a quarter of a century. He was a pioneer in political advertising on television and renowned rainmaker.
Duffy began at a young age in the advertising business and grew with the industry. He joined Barton, Durstine & Osborn as an office boy in 1919. A year later he was promoted to the media department as a space buyer. He continued to grow from head of the media department to vice president and director of media, market research and merchandising after Barton, Durstine & Osborn merged with the George Batten Co.
He became president of BBDO in 1946, was named vice chairman in 1957 and honorary vice chairman of the board of directors before his retirement in 1962.
Duffy is known for the $10 million Lucky Strike account he landed as a young man in the media department. He also made a comprehensive study which resulted in General Motors' spending $800,000 a year for three years in small-town newspapers.
Duffy was the author of several books, including The World's Greatest 99 Days and Advertising Media and Markets, of which a revision, Profitable Advertising in Today's Media and Markets was later published.
Ben Duffy's new-business skills brought BBDO to worldwide influence and his enthusiasm for TV
after World War II led the agency to place 80% of its media budgets into the new medium, thus modernizing the agency business. A high school dropout from Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen, Duffy went from the mailroom to president of BBDO in 1946. A skilled radio buyer, the charismatic leader virtually turned his agency into a TV production studio in creating TV's "golden age" offerings, linking them to clients seven nights a week. Billings soared from $50 million to $200 million during Duffy's decade as president. His close ties to Dwight Eisenhower led BBDO to assist in Ike's '52 and '56 presidential campaigns.
Ben Duffy's Heir?
As president of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, genial, roughhewn Bernard Cornelius Duffy, 55, is a rare figure in the advertising world. Title to rarity: he has nearly quadrupled BBDO's billings (now $200 million), while showing remarkable personal stamina in the process. He pulled through a serious ulcer operation in which two-thirds of his stomach was cut away, and a coronary attack, bounced back each time to supervise the fortunes of the growing agency. Last week, five months after he suffered a severe cerebral hemorrhage, Madison Avenue was wondering whether Ben Duffy could come back again.
No one was willing to bet against rugged Ben Duffy-especially in the face of his determination to recover. Duffy's whole right side was paralyzed as a result of his attack. Yet when BBDO Chairman Bruce Barton visited him recently at his Westchester home, he found Duffy standing in the door of his room, supported only by an arm around his wife's neck. While Barton watched in amazement, Duffy walked around the room. He has already learned to write with his left hand.
Nonetheless, while Duffy wages his battle, BBDO picked an executive officer to act in his absence. The new boss: Executive Vice President Charles H. Brower, 55, the agency's top creative man, who was made general manager and vice chairman of the executive committee, and seems well established as Ben Duffy's heir apparent. Said Brower last week: "Nobody will ever step into Duffy's shoes -it's impossible."
Ben Duffy began his career at BBDO as a messenger boy. Tall, lumbering Charlie Brower also started under inauspicious circumstances. A New Jersey native and Rutgers graduate ('25), he approached the agency in 1926 after a stint as teacher and basketball coach in a New Jersey high school. He was turned down flat. After two years and several more turndowns, he was hired as a copywriter-only to discover that the man who hired him had been fired two days later. After three weeks of sitting around the office, Brower convinced the agency that he really had been hired. When asked what salary had been offered him, enterprising Charlie Brower effortlessly gave himself his first raise.
Brower became vice president in 1940, one of several executive vice presidents in 1946. Along the way, he earned a reputation for the sardonic quip and an analytical approach to problems. Last week, Charlie Brower displayed both qualities. Said he: "Many of the people who wouldn't hire me at first are still here-and they still say they were right."