Frederick D. Sulcer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Sandy Sulcer)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Frederick D. Sulcer
Advertising executive Frederick D Sulcer circa 1970s.JPG
BornFrederick Durham Sulcer
(1926-08-28)August 28, 1926[1]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJanuary 18, 2004(2004-01-18) (aged 77)[2]
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
Other namesSandy Sulcer
EducationU. Chicago, BA, 1947[2]
Alma materU. Chicago, MBA, 1963[2]
Years active1953–2004
EmployerDDB Worldwide,
Benton & Bowles
Known forPut a Tiger in Your Tank
Home townChicago, Illinois
Spouse(s)Dorothy Wright (artist)
ChildrenGinna Sulcer Marston
RelativesQuinn Marston (granddaughter)
Sulcer with comedian Jack Benny in the 1950s.
Sulcer with Needham Harper & Steers chairman Paul Harper in the 1970s.

Frederick Durham Sulcer (August 28, 1926 – January 18, 2004), known as Sandy Sulcer, was an American advertising agency copywriter and executive notable for creating the 1960s Put a Tiger in Your Tank advertising theme for Esso gasoline, now known as ExxonMobil and later as a rainmaker bringing in new clients.[3][4][5][6]

Early years[edit]

Sulcer was born in Chicago in 1926 and grew up during the Great Depression. His father lost his Chicago-based advertising agency during the downturn. Sulcer had an egg delivery service[6] and slept underneath the dining room table to allow his parents to rent out his bedroom for much–needed funds. He attended the University of Chicago on a scholarship and edited the student newspaper The Chicago Maroon[6] and graduated in 1947.[2] He was an amateur actor in the Quadrangle Players theater group.[6] He was drafted and fought in the Korean War[7] and was promoted to captain in the United States Army Corps of Engineers.[6] After returning from Korea, he married an artist for the Chicago Tribune named Dorothy Wright. He attended night school at the University of Chicago Business School and earned an MBA degree in 1963.[2][6]


Sulcer began his career in late 1940s at Needham Louis & Brorby in Chicago, which later became Needham Harper & Steers, as an advertising copywriter.[6][8][9][10] He wrote jingles for Household Finance Corporation including Never borrow money needlessly, but when you must, trust HFC.[6] He became a creative director. He was promoted to account executive in 1961.[11]

To pitch Oklahoma gasoline (which became "Esso", then "Exxon", then "ExxonMobil"), he collaborated with psychologist Ernest Dichter and learned from research that drivers wanted both power and play for their automobiles. The pair, working with other agency creative people, selected the tiger as a visual symbol to express this desire. The agency borrowed a live tiger from the zoo which remained behind a large curtain while they presented the campaign idea to gasoline executives; at the end of the presentation, they opened the curtain to reveal the tiger. They won the account with the theme Put a Tiger in Your Tank.[12]

Sulcer became assistant to the agency president Paul Harper.[13] In addition, he helped persuade the agency to abandon cigarette advertising after reading the 1964 landmark Smoking and Health report by the Surgeon General linking tobacco use with lung cancer; he quit smoking as well.

Sulcer moved to Bronxville, New York in 1966 and managed the agency's New York City office. He helped persuade clients to support public service initiatives[2] including a seat-belt public service campaign called Buckle Up for Safety[6] as well as a traffic safety campaign entitled Watch Out for the Other Guy[14] for the Advertising Council.[15] Sulcer described the other guy theme and how it tried to improve awareness that other drivers were usually "nice, well-meaning people":

The other guy is not always the lane-hugging, road-burning, tire-squealing menace.

— Sandy Sulcer, 1966, in The New York Times[16]

Sulcer helped persuade the Xerox corporation to support a TV series entitled Of Black America which was later recognized by then-president Gerald Ford as a positive effort to bring awareness to minority issues.[6] The agency used data from a longitudinal survey of 3,000 consumers nationwide to help clients understand marketing issues[17] as well as help interpret election results and political leanings.[18] He held executive positions at Needham, Harper & Steers[19][20] (now owned by Omnicom) including president of the New York Division,[21][22] vice chairman of its international operations,[23] and director of business development for the agency.[6] He spoke publicly about the advertising business to professional associations.[24] Working with chairman Paul C. Harper, Jr., he helped the agency develop a reputation as a "hot creative shop" after it won awards for advertising during the late 1960s and early 1970s.[25] He was known for being a capable rainmaker who helped agencies pitch new business.[26] By chance, he sat next to a New York Times reporter on an airplane who was also en route to the Andover–Exeter football game, and the reporter noted that Sulcer had two teenagers, one attending each school.[27]

In 1978, he became director of new business development for DMB&B[6][28] (now part of Publicis) and pitched numerous accounts.[29] In 1990, he moved back to his previous agency, now called DDB Needham Worldwide to head up new business development,[19] for clients such as Anheuser-Busch.[30] He retired from the agency business in 1994.[23]

Sulcer continued to teach and write about advertising in his later years.[23] At Fairleigh Dickinson University, he led along with Cleve Langton and Michael Goodman the Schering-Plough executive lecture series entitled While You Were Looking The Other Way.[31] The lecture series described annual changes in the marketing environment during the previous year which suggested cultural shifts[5] and used marketing research to spot emerging trends.[32] He died in 2004 at the age of 77.[5][12]


  1. ^ George Lazarus (August 28, 1996). "Diana's Bananas get vote of confidence at convention..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Strictly Personal: Birthday greetings to ... F.D. "Sandy" Sulcer.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Deaths". University of Chicago Magazine. 2004. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Frederick D. Sulcer, AB'47, MBA'63, an advertising executive,... began his advertising career in Chicago, later moving to New York, where he encouraged his clients to support public-service campaigns....
  3. ^ "Frederick D. Sulcer profile". New York Times. January 24, 2004. Retrieved 2012-01-01. The former copywriter, who penned Put a Tiger in Your Tank, ...
  4. ^ "History". ExxonMobil. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 1959: An advertising copywriter in Chicago comes up with the advertising slogan 'Put a tiger in your tank.'
  5. ^ a b c Michael B. Goodman; Peter B. Hirsch. "Corporate Communication: Strategic Adaptation for Global Practice". Peter Lang Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4331-0622-4. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Frederick D. (Sandy) Sulcer (1927–2004). Sandy ... counted "Put a Tiger in Your Tank" among his many creative credits.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l David Kaplan. "Sulcer, 77, Former DDB Needham Exec, Dies". AllBusiness. Retrieved 2011-10-03. NEW YORK Frederick D. "Sandy" Sulcer, ... created the well-known "Put a tiger in your tank" theme line for Esso (now ExxonMobil) and wrote jingles such as "Never borrow money needlessly, but when you must, trust HFC", for Household Finance Corp. ...
  7. ^ "With AMERICA'S FIGHTERS". Chicago Tribune. February 25, 1951. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Start page: S_A5 Word count: 291
  8. ^ MARYON ZYLSTRA (February 4, 1958). "The Inquiring Camera Girl". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Frederick D Sulcer advertising copy writer Hyde Park
  9. ^ CARL SPIELVOGEL (April 24, 1958). "Advertising: Newspapers in Selling Drive". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Frederick D. Sulcer has been assistant of the copy department ...
  10. ^ "ADVERTISING NOTES". Chicago Tribune. April 24, 1958. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... At the same time Frederick D Sulcer was named assistant of the copy department ...
  11. ^ ROBERT ALDEN (February 16, 1961). "Advertising: TV Specials Are Found to Be Big Sellers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Frederick D. Sulcer named an account executive ... of Needham, Louis Brorby, inc.
  12. ^ a b Kaplan, David (January 23, 2004). "Sulcer, 77, Former DDB Needham Exec, Dies. (Frederick D. Sulcer) (Obituary)". ADWEEK Eastern Edition. Retrieved 2011-10-03. NEW YORK – Frederick D. "Sandy" Sulcer ... He created the well-known "Put a tiger in your tank" theme line for Esso (now ExxonMobil) …
  13. ^ LEONARD SLOANE (July 9, 1965). "Advertising: Two Unseen but Heard on TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Frederick D. Sulcer becomes assistant to the president, Paul C. Harper Jr
  14. ^ "Twelve Big Ideas – The Advertising Council's Traffic Safety Campaign: "Watch Out For The Other Guy"". WARC. 1966. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Classic Speeches – 4A's, 1966 – In his speech at the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) 1966 Central Region Annual Meeting, Frederick D. Sulcer from Needham, Harper & Steers, shows how his agency developed the "Watch Out for the Other Guy" concept for the Traffic Safety Council.
  15. ^ JAMES SMITH (October 12, 1966). "Agency Men Will Meet Tomorrow". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Campaigns that broke the mold of advertising will be featured on Friday, ... at the Continental Plaza hotel. ... The Advertising Council's Traffic Safety Campaign Frederick D Sulcer Needham Harper & Steers
  16. ^ WALTER CARLSON (July 11, 1966). "Advertising: 'Watch Out for the Other Guy'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... "The other guy is not always the lane-hugging, road-burning, tire-squealing menace; ' according to Frederick D. Sulcer, vice president of Needham, ...
  17. ^ Timothy Mullaney (November 27, 1991). "Economic fears aren't crinkling Christmas lists 'Holiday optimism' evident in survey". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2011-10-03. "One explanation of the possible difference is that in the [Conference Board] survey, people are talking about their plans for cars, houses, vacations – big-ticket items," said Sandy Sulcer, vice chairman of DDB Needham in New York. ...
  18. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (September 14, 1972). "Voting for Humor". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... According to research disclosed by Frederick D. Sulcer, executive vice president of NHS, most people who didn't vote in 1968 didn't really need much more
  19. ^ a b Randall Rothenberg (March 30, 1990). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: Advertising; New Position At Needham". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Frederick D. (Sandy) Sulcer is leaving D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, where he has been director of business development since 1978, for DDB Needham Worldwide, where he will become vice chairman. ...
  20. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (May 13, 1974). "A advertising: In Search of Flavor; Executive Switches at Needham". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ...Frederick D. Sulcer B. Blair Vedder Jr. Bradley H. Roberts
  21. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (November 16, 1969). "A Madison Ave. Hive Like Others: Humming; Advertising: Madison Ave. Hive Like Others -It Hums". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... But next door, Frederick D. (Sandy) Sulcer, head of the New York office is already talking to a job applicant and will finish off the morning working on
  22. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (August 4, 1968). "Agency Maps Attacks to Win New Clients". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Paul C. Harper Jr. ... The management team is made up of Frederick D. (Sandy) Sulcer, executive vice president and New York office manager...
  23. ^ a b c DDB Worldwide staff (January 25, 2004). "Paid Notice: Deaths SULCER, FREDERICK D. SANDY". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. SULCER—Frederick Sandy. ... who penned Put a Tiger in Your Tank, ...
  24. ^ "Needham Head Praises Other Agencies' Efforts". The New York Times. 1978. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Frederick (Sandy) Sulcer, president of Needham, Harper Steers, did a very strange thing the other night during a speech before the Business/Professional Advertising Association in Rochester. He mentioned what he considered as good campaigns from other agencies.
  25. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (June 12, 1975). "Advertising; Needham Is Stressing Creativity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. In the last few years during advertising awards time, the name of Needham, Harper Steers has been showing up frequently among the agencies that have won multiple awards.... The change of image is a direct result of a management decision by Paul C. Harper Jr., chairman of Needham, Harper Steers, and of Frederick D. Sulcer ...
  26. ^ Griggs, Robyn (April 9, 1990). "Sulcer merges new business with old. (Frederick D. Sulcer)". ADWEEK Western Edition. Retrieved 2011-10-03. NEW YORK—Never underestimate Sandy Sulcer's ability to get into an account review. Just a couple of months ago while pitching new business at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, he tried desperately to get into the coveted Reebok review. Now Sulcer's on the short list...
  27. ^ MICHAEL STRAUSS (November 11, 1973). "Andover Triumphs; Lewis Scores Two". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. EXETER, N.H. – ... For Sandy Sulcer of Bronxville, NY, whose son, Tom, attends Andover and whose daughter, Ginny, is a coed at Exeter, ...
  28. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (December 12, 1977). "Advertising; Winter Winds of Change". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. ... Sulcer to BB Frederick D. (Sandy) Sulcer, loaner president of the domestic operation of Needham, Harper Steers, is joining Benton Bowies as a senior vice president...
  29. ^ Philip H. Dougherty (November 22, 1985). "Advertising; People". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Michael Johnson and Frederick D. (Sandy) Sulcer named to board of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
  30. ^ "Survey". Gainesville Sun. February 21, 1991. Retrieved 2011-10-03. The survey "told me that World Cup soccer as a public spectacle ranked right out there with open-ocean yacht racing" ,,, said DDB Needham Worldwide vice chairman Sandy Sulcer....
  31. ^ "In Memoriam". Fairleigh Dickinson University. January 2004. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Frederick "Sandy" Sulcer, ... former Schering-Plough visiting professor of corporate communication, ... Sulcer co-organized the Schering-Plough Executive Lecture Series, "While You Were Looking the Other Way."
  32. ^ Michael B. Goodman (author & editor) (1998). "Corporate Communications for Executives". State University of New York Press, Albany. ISBN 0-7914-3761-2. Retrieved 2011-10-03. Sandy Sulcer, Cleve Langton, and I surveyed corporate executives regarding their attitudes toward and participation in public television.

External links[edit]