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Retired BBDO Boss Talks Advertising
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The more lessons we learn from the past, the less likely we are to repeat the mistakes. At least, that's the idea. 

As the leaders who built today's advertising landscape retire, they continue to provide us with perspectives built upon decades of work, relationships, and experiences.

Allen Rosenshine, retired CEO of BBDO, is no exception.

Rosenshine was instrumental in AdLand for a number of reasons. First, he landed and stayed at BBDO for a number of years, working his way to the top of the food chain. Then, Rosenshine was in the inner circle that created this now little-known holding group called Omnicom, and even led the group for a while until leaving the post to lead BBDO (BBDO is also part of the Omnicom Group).

In the article explaining his book and upcoming talk, Rosenshine has had a number of experiences with working out contracts with mafia backers, celebrities like Michael Jackson, and a host of other interesting scenarios.

But the point that interested us the most was his quip about advertising in society. He bemoans the hate that the "public" has for advertising, because the ruling notion is that it is advertising that is changing the perception of consumers and forcing people to buy.

"Advertising is a follower, not a leader. It doesn't create social values, it reflects them."

How nice is it that a giant in the industry agrees with the research findings we did only a few years ago? We too concluded that advertising is a lagging indicator of what and how people in our society operate.

Yes, we do agree that there are some bad apples in the industry. Rosenshine thinks so too; he cannot stand the political "attack advertising" that is now a mainstay in our economy.

Rosenshine's book, My Son, the Mad Man: A Look Back at Advertising's Wild and Golden Age, sounds like an interesting read. Pick it up and tell us about it.


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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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