|Subsidiary of Omnicom Group|
Number of locations
|289 offices in 80 countries|
Bruce Fairchild Barton
Roy Sarles Durstine
Alex Faickney Osborn
Number of employees
BBDO is a worldwide advertising agency network, with its headquarters in New York City. The agency began in 1891 with George Batten's Batten Company, and later in 1928, through a merger of BDO (Barton, Durstine & Osborn) and Batten Co. the agency became BBDO. BBDO Worldwide has been named the "Most Awarded Agency Network in the World" by The Gunn Report for six consecutive years beginning 2005. It has won "Network of the Year" at the Cannes Lions five times. With more than 15,000 employees in 289 offices in 80 countries, it is the largest of three global networks (BBDO, DDB, TBWA) of agencies in Omnicom's portfolio. BBDO was named Global Agency of the Year by Adweek in 2011. It has also been named Agency of the Year in 2005 by Adweek, Advertising Age, and Campaign. In 2006, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed January 10 as BBDO day in recognition of the strength of its advertising, as well as its contributions to New York City.
The Barton & Durstine agency (founded by Bruce Fairchild Barton and William H. Johns) opened in January 1919, and when Alex Osborn joined the company, the company was named Barton, Durstine, and Osborn. In 1928, the Batten Company (then managed by William H. Johns) merged with Barton, Durstine, and Osborn to form BBDO. The second B represents Barton.
- 1891 George Batten (1854–1918), 37, opens his one-room advertising agency, the Batten Co., at 38 Park Row, New York, with no clients and one employee.
- 1894 Batten's is the first agency to install in-house printing. He advocates the use of plain, simple type, which he says, "stands out like a Quaker on Broadway."
- 1906 The agency, now with 50 employees, moves to the Metropolitan Annex building on East 24th Street, occupying the entire 11th floor – 5,000 square feet (460 m2).
- 1912 Hammermill Paper Co. awards its account to Batten. Hammermill, which was acquired by International Paper in 1988, left BBDO in 1995.
- 1917 Armstrong Cork Company awards its account to Batten. It is now BBDO's oldest client.
- 1918 George Batten dies at 64, and William H. Johns becomes president of the Batten Co.
- 1919 The Barton & Durstine Co. agency opens January 1 at 25 W 45th St., with Bruce Barton as president and Roy Durstine as secretary- treasurer. In August, Alex Osborn joins the agency, renamed Barton, Durstine & Osborn.
- 1920 General Electric becomes BBDO client.
- 1923 Both BDO and the Batten Co. move to the Knapp building at 383 Madison Avenue. BDO leases an entire floor, while the Batten Co., with 246 employees, takes a floor and a half. The 12-story building, designed by the architectural firm of Cross and Cross, was demolished in the late 1990s to make way for the 47-story Bear Stearns building (now JP Morgan Chase.)
- 1923 The Harvard Advertising Awards are founded by Edward Bok of the Ladies' Home Journal and the Harvard Business School. BDO wins more awards than any other agency in the seven years that the award is presented.
- 1924 BDO ranks as the fourth-largest U.S. agency.
- 1925 BDO airs its first radio program an hour show for Atwater Kent radios for which the agency had obtained the exclusive right to broadcast Metropolitan Opera stars. Two years later, BDO becomes the first agency to establish a radio department.
- 1927 John Caples, who later will become the world's authority on copy testing, joins BDO. In his 1931 book, "Tested Advertising Methods," he declared that the average American is 13 years old mentally, and that a copywriter should "use words you would expect to find in a fifth-grade reader." He also strongly advised against humor.
- 1928 On September 21, the Batten Co. and BDO announce a merger to form Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. Bruce Barton is made chairman of the board, while William H. Johns, president of the Batten Co., becomes president of the new agency. Durstine is made vice president and general manager. The new agency, with branch offices Chicago, Boston, and Buffalo, has over 600 employees. It will occupy 383 Madison for 59 years until it relocates to its current address, 1285 Avenue of the Americas.
- 1929 Chicago office opens.
- 1930 Minneapolis office opens to service Hormel Foods.
- 1934 Kate Smith begins her first commercially sponsored radio show for BBDO client La Palina cigars. La Palina was originated by Sam Paley, father of William S. Paley, president of CBS. (The inside of every La Palina box was adorned with a picture of Mrs. Sam Paley in a Spanish costume.)
- 1935 DuPont hires BBDO to change the company's image from a World War I munitions manufacturer to a peace time manufacturer. The agency introduces the slogan "Better Things for Better Living … Through Chemistry." The words "through chemistry" were removed in the 1980s. The slogan was replaced in 1999 with "The miracles of science."
- 1935 BBDO launches the first "Hit Parade" radio show. "Soon" was the No. 1 song.
- 1937 Bruce Barton is appointed to an unexpired term in the United States House of Representatives and is elected a year later.
- 1939 Roy Durstine resigns after three years as president, and opens his own agency. BBDO is reorganized under the leadership of Alex Osborn.
- 1939 Lever Bros. becomes a BBDO client.
- 1940 After losing his campaign for the Senate, Bruce Barton returns as president of BBDO.
- 1940 Alex Osborn introduces "brainstorming," a technique to generate ideas, to the agency.
- 1946 Ben Duffy, who started in the agency's mailroom and rose to head the media department, becomes president. Under his watch billings quadruple from $50 million to $200 million in ten years. He steps down in 1957 due to illness.
- 1952 Jim Jordan starts his career as a copywriter at BBDO. He will become the agency's chief creative officer in 1968.
- 1957 Charlie Brower, who was hired as a copywriter with the Batten Co. just before the merger with BDO, becomes president.
- 1960 On March 16, Chrysler moves its Dodge Truck and Car Divisions, with billings of $21 million, to BBDO. On April 6, BBDO wins the $17 million Pepsi account after a pitch against seven other agencies.
- 1961 Jim Jordan creates a campaign for Schaefer Beer based on research that revealed that 80% of the beer was consumed by 20% of the drinkers. The slogan and jingle: "Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one."
- 1962 Phil Dusenberry is hired as a junior copywriter.
- 1963 Jim Jordan creates the campaign "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!"
- 1963 Dick Mercer creates the slogan "Come alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation." It is the first time a product is identified not by its own attributes but by its consumers' lifestyles and attitudes.
- 1965 Allen Rosenshine is hired as a copywriter.
- 1968 Jim Jordan creates the "Ring around the collar" campaign for Wisk detergent, a Unilever product. Wisk left BBDO in 1989.
- 1973 Dick Mercer creates the campaign (and jingle) "Have it your way" for Burger King.
- 1975 Allen Rosenshine succeeds Jim Jordan as creative director of BBDO. Jim Jordan becomes President.
- 1978 Jim Jordan leaves BBDO to open his own agency.
- 1979 Chicago office joins the BBDO Worldwide network.
- 1980 Allen Rosenshine becomes President, CEO of BBDO New York,
- 1980 Phil Dusenberry becomes the agency's executive creative director.
- 1982 BBDO is named Agency of the Year by Adweek.
- 1983 Tom Kiely is named president of a new BBDO division called the "BBDO Business-to-Business Group" to service the broad range of communications needs required by its BtoB-oriented clients, including The Timken Company, Hammermill Paper, certain General Electric Company departments and of Symbolics, Inc, (a so-called Artificial Intelligence computer manufacturer). Working in that group were a veteran group of business-to-business advertising and public relations professionals including Les Lilliston, Bob Fuller, Bob Dudley, Charles Gade, Bruce Jordan, Bob Wilson, Cray Cyphers and Bill Reingold.
- 1984 On January 27, Michael Jackson's hair is accidentally set on fire during filming of a Pepsi commercial. The mishap made front page news around the world. (Phil Dusenberry's 2005 memoir is titled "Then We Set His Hair on Fire.") The commercial debuted a month later on the Grammy Awards, where Jackson, wearing a hairpiece, collected a record eight awards.
- 1985 Allen Rosenshine succeeds Bruce Crawford as Chairman, CEO of BBDO Worldwide.
- 1985 BBDO wins the $15 million Visa account and introduces the slogan "It's everywhere you want to be." The account, which grew to $350 million, remained at BBDO for 20 years until it moved to another Omnicom agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day. In 2012, Visa returned global creative duties to BBDO.
- 1985 Advertising Age selects BBDO as Agency of the Year.
- 1986 BBDO wins the $50 million Apple Computer account from Chiat\Day, which had produced Apple's "1984" Super Bowl commercial. Apple returned to TBWA\Chiat\Day in 1997 soon after Steve Jobs returned to Apple.
- 1986 Omnicom is formed from the merger between BBDO and DDB Needham. Sometimes referred to as the "Big-Bang" merger, it was spearheaded by BBDO Worldwide CEO Allen Rosenshine in response to competitive threats from other large advertising agency comglomerates.
- 1986 Allen Rosenshine becomes president, CEO of Omnicom, overseeing BBDO as a subsidiary. Norm Campbell and Willi Schalk become Chairman and President of BBDO respectively.
- 1986 BBDO's Business-to-Business Group is folded because of lack of business...the same fate that befell the ITSM Division of McCann-Erickson back in the late 1960s.
- 1987 After 59 years on Madison Avenue, BBDO relocates to 1285 Avenue of the Americas.
- 1987 BBDO wins the $30 million Pizza Hut account from Chiat\Day. It will remain at BBDO until 2009.
- 1989 Allen Rosenshine returns to BBDO as Chairman, CEO. Bruce Crawford succeeds him at Omnicom. Norm Campbell and Willi Schalk retire.
- 1991 Allen Rosenshine serves as President of the Jury at the Cannes Advertising Festival
- 1991 A Diet Pepsi commercial with Ray Charles singing "You Got the Right One, Baby" wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll.
- 1992 Executive Creator Director Lee Garfinkel writes famous Cindy Crawford Pepsi commercial, considered one of the ten best Super Bowl spots of all time.
- 1993 Ted Sann becomes Chief Creative Officer and Vice Chairman of BBDO North America.
- 1994 A Pepsi commercial about a lab chimp that turns into a party animal wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll.
- 1994 BBDO is selected Agency of the Year by both Adweek and Advertising Age.
- 1995 A Pepsi commercial where a boy on a beach tries to suck the last drop of Pepsi out of a bottle with a straw wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll.
- 1996 A Pepsi commercial about a fictional Coke driver who causes a whole shelf of Pepsi cans to tumble to the floor wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll. In 2008 the commercial was chosen as the best ad in the twenty-year history of the Ad Meter poll.
- 1997 A Pepsi commercial featuring grizzly bears dancing to the Village People's 1970s disco classic YMCA wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll.
- 1997 First commercial to be filmed in Space - Tnuva Milk - noted in the Guinness Book of Records.
- 1998 For the fifth consecutive year a Pepsi commercial wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll. A sky surfer does aerial tricks with a goose, and they share a Pepsi afterwards.
- 2001 Mike Fyshe steps down as president and CEO of Toronto-based BBDO Canada, replaced later that year by Gerry Frascione
- 2002 Phil Dusenberry retires as Chairman of BBDO North America. Andrew Robertson is named president and CEO of BBDO North America.
- 2004 Allen Rosenshine retires as CEO of BBDO, remaining Chairman
- 2004 Andrew Robertson is named President and Chief Executive Officer of BBDO Worldwide
- 2004 David Lubars is appointed Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO North America
- 2005 BBDO Chicago is rebranded as Energy BBDO
- 2006 Gerry Frascione is appointed to the additional positions of president and CEO of BBDO North America
- 2006 Mayor Bloomberg names January 10 "BBDO Day."
- 2006 Allen Rosenshine retires as Chairman and becomes Chairman Emeritus
- 2007 BBDO Worldwide is awarded the Network of the Year award at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.
- 2008 BBDO acquires Barefoot Advertising in Cincinnati, Ohio, makes it part of Proximity Worldwide, renamed Barefoot Proximity it is the network's largest US office.
- 2008 BBDO is named Network of the Year by CAMPAIGN Magazine, as well as the Clios International Advertising Festival
- 2008 BBDO Worldwide is awarded Network of the Year for the second straight year at Cannes. BBDO New York is named Agency of the Year, and ALMAPBBDO is #2 as Agency of the Year.
- 2009 BBDO Worldwide wins Network of the Year at Cannes for the third year in a row.
- 2010 A Snickers commercial featuring Betty White wins the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter,
- 2010 BBDO Worldwide wins Network of the Year at Cannes for the fourth year in a row.
- 2010 BBDO opens a marketing strategy office named Batten & Company in New York.
- 2011 BBDO Worldwide wins Network of the Year at Cannes again, for an unprecedented five consecutive years.
- 2011 BBDO Worldwide named Global Agency of the Year by Adweek.
In popular culture
BBDO has had numerous appearances in American popular culture. Notable mentions include:
- In the 1933 comedy Hard to Handle, James Cagney says, "Well, so long, boys. I'm lunching with Bruce Barton of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn."
- In an episode of Jack Benny's radio program (broadcast 11/21/48), Jack spends virtually the entire show on the phone waiting to talk to either Batten, Barton, Durstine or Osborn (the agency for his sponsor, Lucky Strike). During this episode, Jack's wife, Mary Livingston, cracks that the agency's name "sounds like a trunk falling down stairs." The line has also been attributed—probably erroneously—to Fred Allen
- The agency Sterling Cooper in the TV series Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, is supposedly inspired by BBDO, according to the show's creator, Matthew Weiner. BBDO is mentioned fairly frequently as a competitor, including Season 1 Episode 7, when a department store customer says, "He's a media buyer at BBDO." Later in the season two episode "Six Month Leave" Roger Sterling tells Don Draper while they are in an underground casino that BBDO hired a "colored kid." A third-season episode mentions that Sterling Cooper "lost the Campbell's Soup Great Britain" account, leading one executive to lament that now they'd "lost all of Campbell's to BBDO." In Season 4's Chinese Wall, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce loses its biggest account, Lucky Strike cigarettes, to BBDO, putting the agency on the brink of bankruptcy.
- "The BBDO Century". Advertising Age Supplement. 1991-09-30.
- BBDO (2007). "Network". BBDO. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Agency Network of the Year BBDO". Campaign. 12/9/2005. Check date values in:
- "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Declares January 10, 2006 'BBDO Day' in the City of New York". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
- Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
- Pasiuk, Laurie (2006). Vault Guide to the Top Advertising & PR Employers. Vault Inc. p. 25.
- "1st Space Commercial". Guinness Book of Records. 1997.
- "Frascione Joins BBDO Canada as CEO". adweek.com. Prometheus Global Media LLC. June 20, 2001.
- Andrew Robertson, Forbes.com. Accessed July 5, 2011
- Arndorfer, James. Fallon's David Lubars Leaps to BBDO, Adage.com. June 10, 2004. Accessed July 05, 2011
- "Frascione becomes president, CEO of BBDO North America". Adnews. Bale Communications Inc. January 30, 2006.
- Adweek. Adweek. Retrieved on 2011-09-30.
Rosenshine, Allen. Funny Business: Moguls, Mobsters, Megastars, and the Mad, Mad World of the Ad Game.