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BBDO (Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn)
Industry Advertising, Marketing
Founded 1891
Headquarters New York City, USA
Number of locations
289 offices in 80 countries
Area served
World Wide
Key people


William H. Johns
Bruce Fairchild Barton
Roy Sarles Durstine
Alex Faickney Osborn
Number of employees
15,000 employees
Parent Omnicom Group

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5]


  • 1891 George Batten (1854–1918), 37, opened his one-room advertising agency, the Batten Co., at 38 Park Row, New York, with no clients and one employee.[6]
  • 1894 Batten's was the first agency to install in-house printing. He advocated the use of plain, simple type, which he says, "stands out like a Quaker on Broadway."[7]
  • 1906 The agency, now with 50 employees, moved to the Metropolitan Annex building on East 24th Street, occupying the entire 11th floor – 5,000 square feet (460 m2).
  • 1918 George Batten died at 64, and William H. Johns became president of the Batten Co.[8]
  • 1919 The Barton & Durstine Co. agency opened on January 1 at 25 W 45th St., with Bruce Barton as president and Roy Durstine as secretary- treasurer. In August, Alex Osborn joined the agency, renamed Barton, Durstine & Osborn.[9]
  • 1923 Both BDO and the Batten Co. moved to the Knapp building at 383 Madison Avenue. BDO leased an entire floor, while the Batten Co., with 246 employees, took 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.)
  • 1925 BDO aired 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 became the first agency to establish a radio department.
  • 1927 John Caples, who later would become the world's authority on copy testing, joined 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 announced a merger to form Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. Bruce Barton was made chairman of the board, while William H. Johns, president of the Batten Co., became president of the new agency. Durstine was made vice president and general manager. The new agency, with branch offices Chicago, Boston, and Buffalo, had over 600 employees. It was to occupy 383 Madison for 59 years until it relocated to its current address, 1285 Avenue of the Americas.[10]
  • 1934 Kate Smith began 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 hired BBDO to change the company's image from a World War I munitions manufacturer to a peace time manufacturer. The agency introduced 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 launched the first "Hit Parade" radio show. "Soon" was the No. 1 song.
  • 1937 Bruce Barton was appointed to an unexpired term in the United States House of Representatives and was elected a year later.
  • 1939 Roy Durstine resigned after three years as president, and opened his own agency. BBDO was reorganized under the leadership of Alex Osborn.
  • 1940 After losing his campaign for the Senate, Bruce Barton returned as president of BBDO.
  • 1940 Alex Osborn introduced "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, became president. Under his watch, billings quadrupled from $50 million to $200 million in ten years. He stepped down in 1957 due to illness.
  • 1952 Jim Jordan started his career as a copywriter at BBDO. He would 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, became president.
  • 1960 On March 16, Chrysler moved 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 created 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."
  • 1963 Jim Jordan created the campaign "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!"[11]
  • 1963 Dick Mercer created 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.
  • 1968 Jim Jordan created the "Ring around the collar" campaign for Wisk detergent, a Unilever product. Wisk left BBDO in 1989.
  • 1973 Dick Mercer created the campaign (and jingle) "Have it your way" for Burger King.
  • 1975 Allen Rosenshine succeeded Jim Jordan as creative director of BBDO. Jim Jordan became President.
  • 1978 Jim Jordan left BBDO to open his own agency.
  • 1980 Allen Rosenshine became President, CEO of BBDO New York.
  • 1980 Phil Dusenberry became the agency's executive creative director.
  • 1982 BBDO was named Agency of the Year by Adweek.
  • 1983 Tom Kiely was 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 was 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 succeeded Bruce Crawford as Chairman, CEO of BBDO Worldwide.
  • 1985 BBDO won the $15 million Visa account and introduced 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 selected BBDO as Agency of the Year.
  • 1986 Omnicom was 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 was folded because of lack of business...the same fate that befell the ITSM Division of McCann-Erickson back in the late 1960s.
  • 1989 Allen Rosenshine returned to BBDO as Chairman, CEO. Bruce Crawford succeeded him at Omnicom. Norm Campbell and Willi Schalk retired.
  • 1991 Allen Rosenshine served 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" won 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 won the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll.
  • 1994 BBDO was 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 won 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 won 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.[12]
  • 1998 For the fifth consecutive year a Pepsi commercial won 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 stepped down as president and CEO of Toronto-based BBDO Canada, replaced later that year by Gerry Frascione[13]
  • 2002 Phil Dusenberry retired as Chairman of BBDO North America. Andrew Robertson was named president and CEO of BBDO North America.
  • 2004 Andrew Robertson was named President and Chief Executive Officer of BBDO Worldwide[14]
  • 2004 David Lubars was appointed Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO North America[15]
  • 2006 Gerry Frascione was appointed to the additional positions of president and CEO of BBDO North America[16]
  • 2006 Mayor Bloomberg named January 10 "BBDO Day."
  • 2006 Allen Rosenshine retired as Chairman and became Chairman Emeritus
  • 2007 BBDO Worldwide was awarded the Network of the Year award at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.
  • 2008 BBDO acquired Barefoot Advertising in Cincinnati, Ohio, made it part of Proximity Worldwide, renamed Barefoot Proximity it was the network's largest US office.
  • 2008 BBDO was named Network of the Year by CAMPAIGN Magazine, as well as the Clios International Advertising Festival
  • 2008 BBDO Worldwide was awarded Network of the Week[17] for the second straight year at Cannes. BBDO New York was named Agency of the Year, and ALMAPBBDO was #2 as Agency of the Year.
  • 2009 BBDO Worldwide won Network of the Year at Cannes for the third year in a row.
  • 2010 A Snickers commercial featuring Betty White won the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter.
  • 2010 BBDO Worldwide won Network of the Year at Cannes for the fourth year in a row.
  • 2010 BBDO opened a marketing strategy office named Batten & Company in New York.[18]
  • 2011 BBDO Worldwide won Network of the Year at Cannes again, for an unprecedented five consecutive years.
  • 2011 BBDO Worldwide named Global Agency of the Year by Adweek.
  • 2014 BBDO NY named Creativity's Agency of the Year on AdAge's Agency A-List.[19]
  • 2015 BBDO named an "Agency of the Year" finalist among large agencies in the 2015 iMedia Agency Awards.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

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 Livingstone, cracks that the agency's name "sounds like a trunk falling down stairs." The line has also been attributed—probably erroneously—to Fred Allen.[21]
  • 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.[22] 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.
  • In the romantic comedy What Women Want, when asked about Darcy McGuire, Nick Marshall tells his boss that "Oh, hey, I heard on the whisper she just left B.B.D & O."[23]
  • In the 1961 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying a fictional character is introduced as a new head of advertising with the initials B.B.D.O, followed by the statement "That's probably why he was hired."


  1. ^ "The BBDO Century". Advertising Age Supplement. 1991-09-30. 
  2. ^ BBDO (2007). "Network". BBDO. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Agency Network of the Year BBDO". Campaign. 2005-12-09. 
  4. ^ "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Declares January 10, 2006 'BBDO Day' in the City of New York". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  5. ^ Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9. 
  6. ^ John McDonough and Karen Egolf. Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising. 2015.
  7. ^ Pasiuk, Laurie (2006). Vault Guide to the Top Advertising & PR Employers. Vault Inc. p. 25. 
  8. ^ John McDonough and Karen Egolf. Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising. 2015.
  9. ^ John McDonough and Karen Egolf. Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising. 2015.
  10. ^ John McDonough and Karen Egolf. Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising. 2015.
  11. ^ "'60s and '70s Tareyton ads". The Unswitchables. Burnt Offerings. Archived from the original on March 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-02. 
  12. ^ "1st Space Commercial". Guinness Book of Records. 1997. 
  13. ^ "Frascione Joins BBDO Canada as CEO". Prometheus Global Media LLC. June 20, 2001. 
  14. ^ Andrew Robertson, Accessed July 5, 2011
  15. ^ Arndorfer, James. Fallon's David Lubars Leaps to BBDO, June 10, 2004. Accessed July 05, 2011
  16. ^ "Frascione becomes president, CEO of BBDO North America". Adnews. Bale Communications Inc. January 30, 2006. 
  17. ^ "Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2008 Award Winners Showcase". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  18. ^ "An Old Industry Name Signals a Shift Into a New Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  19. ^ "BBDO New York Is Creativity's Agency of the Year". Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  20. ^ "Finalists announced for the2015 iMedia Agency Awards". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  21. ^ Cynthia B. Meyers. A Word from Our Sponsors: Admen, Advertising, and the Golden Age of Radio. p. 11. 2013.
  22. ^ High, Kamau. "Matthew Weiner's No Madman". Adweek. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  23. ^ What Women Want.

Further reading[edit]

Rosenshine, Allen. Funny Business: Moguls, Mobsters, Megastars, and the Mad, Mad World of the Ad Game.

External links[edit]