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Leaving a Legacy
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As we journey on into the ever-changing landscape of AdLand, we can't help but wonder what sort of legacy we could leave. As creative professionals, we would all like to have something that we created linger on well after us. Or, having been blessed with foresight, see that we are in the middle of creating something that is going to last.

It is part of our human condition. We want to not only be remembered, but have an ongoing impact.

Take David Deutsch. He started out at McCann Erikson and moved to Ogilvy & Mather, before starting up his own shop in 1969. He was known for details, and for telling his clients face-to-face that they were looking at the guy who has going to do the work. Did he know that 14 years later, his son Donny would join the agency? Or that in 1989 he'd be able to pass the leadership of the agency to his son?

To think he got to see Deutsch grow from $70 million in billings to $800 million. 

That's a nice legacy.

If you haven't heard, David Deutsch died at the age of 84 this week. AdLand and the art world (he became an artist after retiring) will miss him.

Let's look at the present. Do we see a legacy being paved? Take Sir Martin Sorrell. As CEO of WPP, Sorrell has steered the holding company to ridiculous growth. During this past shareholder's meeting, Sorrell was re-elected as chief executive by a commanding 99.98% support of shareholders. Though he is taking a slight pay cut (approx. down to a base salary of $1.99 million), it is safe to say that his stewardship is quite secure. During a tough stint of the economy, Sorrell led WPP to modest growth through the first quarter of 2013, with impressive growth in the digital media and advertising realms.

It is true that we are not fans of holding companies, but one does have to respect the moves that Sorrell is making.

What will be his legacy? How will WPP shape the rest of the advertising industry? WPP's most recent investments have been in the digital arena; it will be interesting to see what its shops will do.

Deutsch and Sorrell have made marks on AdLand. What will be yours?

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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