Bob Bernstein

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Not to be confused with Robert A. Bernstein.
Bob Bernstein
Born Robert A. Bernstein
1939 (age 77–78)
Alma mater University of Oklahoma
Occupation Co-founder of Bernstein-Rein
Founder of Beauty Brands
Spouse(s) Dr. Phyliss Bernstein
Children 3

Robert "Bob" Bernstein is an American businessman and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of the advertising company Bernstein-Rein and the founder of Beauty Brands.


In 1964, Bernstein and Skip Rein opened Bernstein-Rein, a marketing and communications firm located in Kansas City, Missouri. At the time the business was opened, Bernstein had $100 in the bank and took out a $2,500 loan.[1]

Bernstein-Rein was retained by McDonald's in 1967.[2] In 1969, the agency created a series of illustrated glasses for McDonald's called the "Happy Cup." In 1977, Bernstein created the Happy Meal for McDonald's.[3][4] The Happy Meal was tested in four cities before being released nationally in 1979.[5]

In 1974, Bernstein-Rein was hired by Sam Walton to do advertising for Walmart. The agency worked with Walmart through early 2007.[6][7] The agency developed the "Buy American" ad campaign for Walmart in the 1980s, and in the 1990s developed the smiley face frequently used in Walmart's television and in-store marketing.[1] The "Buy American" campaign came under scrutiny after a Dateline NBC episode in December 1992 charged that Walmart "imports a number of its private-label clothes while playing up its ambitious 'Buy America' campaign."[8]

Before losing its Walmart account in early 2007, BR was one of the six largest independent ad agencies in the United States (36th largest overall),[1] with 350 employees and annual billings of more than $550 million.[6] In 2008, after losing accounts with Walmart and USAA, its gross income was $45.1 million.[9]

In the 1990s, Bernstein-Rein developed its own retail business, Beauty Brands, creating a retail approach it described as "InsideOut Retailing".[10] The agency, which had the entire Blockbuster LLC account until early 1994, came up with the slogan "Make It a Blockbuster Night".[1][11][12]

May 21, 2003 was declared “Bob Bernstein Day” by the mayor of Kansas City.[13]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Dr. Phyliss Bernstein, a clinical psychologist. They have three children.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Barton, Eric (December 7, 2006). "Life Without Wal-Mart". The Pitch. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Baar, Aaron (August 10, 1998). "Bernstein-Rein, Big Mac Reunited". AdWeek. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue Magazine Publishing Corporation. 1986. pp. 52–56. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Hawley, Amy (August 18, 2011). "Creator of the Happy Meal says KC makes him happy". KSHB. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "K.C. marketer behind Happy Meals' success". Lawrence Journal-World. Associated Press. August 14, 2004. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Bernstein-Rein loses Wal-Mart account". Kansas City Business Journal. August 8, 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  7. ^ Elliott, Stuart (December 15, 2006). "Why an Agency Said No to Wal-Mart". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Wal-Mart Takes a Hit: Retailer's 'Buy America' Campaign Shaken by NBC News Program". AdWeek. January 4, 1993. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  9. ^ Vockrodt, Steve (2009-04-05). "Bernstein-Rein lays off staff, warns of more". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  10. ^ "Q&A: Steve Bernstein". 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  11. ^ Lazarus, George (September 30, 1996). "Shiara Kicks Off 2nd Men's Cologne". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  12. ^ Goll Beatty, Sally (October 2, 1996). "Blockbuster Puts Agencies In a Permanent Shootout". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Robert A. Bernstein". Advertising Icon Museum. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 

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