Dancer Fitzgerald Sample
|Fate||Acquired by Saatchi & Saatchi|
|Successor||Saatchi & Saatchi DFS (renamed back to Saatchi & Saatchi later on)|
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
|Subsidiaries||The Program Exchange (1979-1987)|
Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (DFS and later DFS-Dorland) was a top tier Madison Avenue advertising agency during the 20th century, originally founded in Chicago in 1923. It was acquired and merged into the Saatchi & Saatchi network in the 1980s.
The agency was founded in 1923 by Hill Blackett and John Glen Sample, in Chicago. E. Frank Hummert joined the agency in 1927, and it was renamed Blackett-Sample-Hummert, even though Hummert was never a partner in the company. Blackett left company management, despite remaining a partner, when he was commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1942. Hummert left the company at the end of 1943, forming Hummert Radio Productions with his wife Anne. Sample, after unsuccessful attempts to buy out the absent Blackett, announced that they would allow the firm to dissolve when their partnership agreement expired in 1944, and that he would enter a new partnership with B-S-H president H.M. "Mix" Dancer at that time. These plans were later altered to terminate the partnership earlier, on January 1, 1944, with Blackett forming his own firm and Dancer and Sample adding as a partner Clifford L. Fitzgerald, then a B-S-H vice president and director.
DFS purchased Gamma Productions, a Mexican animation studio, in 1959. It used the studio to produce television cartoons for Jay Ward Productions and Total Television; the studio closed in 1968. Its productions remain in reruns, distributed through The Program Exchange. DFS founded Program Syndication Services in 1973 and The Program Exchange in 1979.
On February 24, 1986, Saatchi & Saatchi agreed to acquire Dancer Fitzgerald Sample for $75 million, and immediately announced that it would be merged with Saatchi's UK network Dorland Advertising. At that time, Dancer Fitzgerald Sample was the thirteenth largest advertising agency in the US, with billings of $876 million and clients including Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Toyota, Sara Lee and RJR Nabisco. The new DFS Dorland Worldwide network was to be operated independently from the Saatchi & Saatchi Compton Worldwide network and was at that time the sixteenth largest agency network in the world.
By June 1987, however, DFS was merged with Saatchi & Saatchi Compton, the US subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi. At that point the merged business became the largest agency in New York with billings of $2.3 billion. The consolidation ended DFS's relationship with Dorland, which at that point was the third-largest London agency.
Dancer Fitzgerald Sample was responsible for developing the "Oh What A Feeling" worldwide campaign for Toyota, and that legacy survives today in Saatchi & Saatchi's continuing global relationship with Toyota.
Dancer Fitzgerald has been featured in episodes of the fictional television series Mad Men as the agency from which Lou Avery moved to join SC&P.
- "Reorganization Plan Outlined For Blackett-Sample-Hummert". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.) 25 (7): 12. August 16, 1943.
- "Two New Agencies Organized From Dissolution of B-S-H". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising 25 (12): 8. September 20, 1943.
- Goldman - Conflicting Accounts
- Goldman, Kevin Conflicting Accounts - The Creation & Crash of the Saatchi & Saatchi Empire, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1997 ISBN 0-684-83553-3