14 de mayo de 1916 - 25 de octubre de 1989
Probablemente el más innovador constructor de imperios del siglo XX en el mundo de las agencias. Graduado en Yale, comienza en las oficinas de mensajería de McCann-Erickson's en 1939. Se concentra en el departamento de investigación y se convierte en director de investigación de copy en el 42. Tras ser asistente del fundador y presidente H.K. McCann, le sucede en 1948. Incrementa los estudios de motivación y las técnicas de pretest. Comienza a comprar agencias y en 1961 globaliza la organización con la creación de Interpublic Group of Cos. (New York), un conglomerado libre de conflictos a pesar de estar formado por agencias que operan individualmente, además de ofrecer servicios independientes y no directamente publicitarios como por ejemplo relaciones públicas. Los gastos desaforados de Harper llevan a los directivos de Interpublic a despedirlo en 1967.
Former Chairman & CEO, Interpublic Group of Companies.
Madison Avenue owes a great deal to Marion Harper. Harper pioneered the concept of an agency holding company and paved the way for agencies to go public. He introduced new advertising disciplines and set up the first agency structure with affiliate services.
Harper began his advertising career in the mailroom of McCann-Erickson in 1938. Three years later, at age 26, he could look at a magazine ad before it was published and predict with startling accuracy what its Starch rating would be. He encouraged creatives to use this research to create better advertising and reassured clients they were getting the audience they wanted.
In 1948, at age 32, Harper became president of McCann-Erickson. Perhaps his biggest contribution to the industry was combining two or more autonomous agencies under one corporate umbrella. In 1954 McCann acquired Marschalk & Pratt, and instead of absorbing it, maintained its separate identity and location. Soon after, Harper created the affiliate principle and added a separate public-relations unit, a research unit and a sales-promotion company, making McCann an agency like no other. In 1960 Harper launched the Interpublic Group of Companies and the holding-company concept.
While he was reorganizing agency structure, Harper also was winning new business. In the 12-month period beginning in late 1954, McCann landed 13 new clients. In three years, the agency's United States billings doubled.
Harper was deeply involved in many areas of public service. He served as chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, as a consultant to the United States Information Agency, as a strong supporter of the Ad Council and as an adviser to both President Johnson and Governor Rockefeller. He served for many years on the board of Lenox Hill Hospital and headed fundraising activities for many national charities. He endorsed scholarships for youth education, established funds for furthering the work of the Institute for General Semantics founded by Alfred Korzybski and, at the time of his retirement, turned his attention to better distribution of medical research findings on a worldwide basis.
Marion Harper Jr., 73, a Leader In the Advertising Industry, Dies
Marion Harper Jr., a leader in the advertising industry, died, apparently of a heart attack, yesterday, at his home in Oklahoma City. He was 73 years old.
Mr. Harper was founder and former chairman of the huge Interpublic Group of Companies, which includes SSC & B: Lintas World Wide in New York and Dailey & Associates in Los Angeles. He also created the competitive agency system, in which a company's subsidiaries work on competing accounts.
In an industry in which superlatives are the stock in trade, Mr. Harper was acknowledged as a great thinker. He was known for applying semantics to advertising. Mr. Harper believed that the scientific application of semantics would help in understanding human behavior and in motivating consumers.
He also believed successful advertising depended on measuring people's reaction, and he developed a formula to pretest advertisements. He was a founder of the Copy Research Council and worked to make research a scientific advertising tool. President at Age of 32
Mr. Harper was born on May 14, 1916, in Oklahoma City. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and graduated from Yale University in 1938. He followed his father into advertising, starting as a trainee with the McCann-Erickson agency in New York in 1939. After three months, he was transferred to the copy research department and, by 1942, was manager of copy research.
In 1948, at the age of 32, Mr. Harper was named president of McCann-Erickson. He was often called a boy wonder. McCann-Erickson was the sixth largest agency in the country, with 24 offices and 1,200 employes.
Mr. Harper brought in accounts like Coca-Cola and Buick, and added dozens of others by acquiring agencies. He took substantial risks, and in acquiring the $24 million-a-year Buick account, he dropped the Chrysler account, which was bringing in $26 million in billings.
By 1951, he was planning a new form for his agency, one that could work on every step of marketing, from creating products to delivery. He set up companies for research, promotion, public relations, fashion, publishing and executive training. Quick Growth of Agency
At a turning point in 1954, Mr. Harper acquired Wikerson, Schiwetz & Tips. an agency with 31 clients. He later added Marschalk & Pratt, which specialized in industrial and business advertising.
When Mr. Harper was named chairman in 1958, McCann-Erickson ranked second to J. Walter Thompson. McCann had 41 offices in 16 countries and 4,000 employees.
Mr. Harper opened a marketing-communications workshop, conducted research and shifted clients into advertising on television. In 1960, he received the Charles Coolidge Parlin Memorial Award of the American Marketing Association.
In January 1961, McCann-Erickson changed its name to Interpublic Inc. and offered services that included advertising, marketing, sales promotion, public relations and communications. The company entered publishing, issuing books on marketing and advertising. Mr. Harper continued the expansion, but the acquisitions began to hurt profits.
After Mr. Harper stepped aside as president and chairman in 1966, he remained president, chairman and chief executive of the parent Interpublic Group, with its 91 offices in 47 countries and 8,500 employees. In 1968, he was eased out and went to head other agencies, including Harper Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Systems for Growth.
He was an officer of the Advertising Research Foundation, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Advertising Council. He was also a director of the Outdoor Advertising Bureau and a member of the National Distribution Council. Mr. Harper wrote books and articles, including ''Getting Results From Advertising.''
Surviving are four sons, Stephen, Chilton, Francis and Reid, from his first marriage, and a daughter, Victoria, from his second marriage.
Photo of Marion Harper Jr. (1963).
Fuente: nytimes.com. ALFONSO A. NARVAEZ. 26 octubre 1989.