July 15, 2024

Eugene H. Kummel, Who Led Major Ad Agency in Expansion, Dies at 88

The cause was a stroke he suffered on Friday at his summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, his wife, Barbara, said.

Under Mr. Kummel’s leadership, McCann Erickson created memorable television commercials like Coca-Cola’s “I’d like to teach the world to sing” campaign in the 1970s and, several years later, the Miller Lite campaign, “Everything you always wanted in a beer, and less,” with personalities like George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin arguing, “Tastes great,” “Less filling.”

Mr. Kummel joined McCann Erickson Worldwide and its parent company, the Interpublic Group, in 1965, and was chosen to lead the company eight years later. McCann Erickson had billings of about $170 million a year when he took it over; by the time he retired in 1987, its billings stood at $1.8 billion. Its client list included Exxon, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Nestlé, Unilever, Johnson Johnson, Gillette, Sony and R. J. Reynolds.

Mr. Kummel was chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Advertising Educational Foundation. In 1988, he was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.

Eugene Hirsch Kummel was born in Newark on Aug. 2, 1922, to Max and Florence Makowsky Kummel. His father was an orthopedic surgeon.

Mr. Kummel graduated from Yale in 1943 with a degree in economics, then served as a first lieutenant in the Navy in the South Pacific. After the war, he became a brand manager for the Warner-Lambert pharmaceutical company. In 1948, he joined the William H. Weintraub advertising agency, which eventually became Norman, Craig Kummel.

In addition to his wife of 56 years, the former Barbara Wiener, Mr. Kummel, who also had a home in Manhattan, is survived by three sons, Charles, Andrew and William, and a brother, Bertram.

As an industry leader, Mr. Kummel was an opponent of government efforts to regulate advertising. Testifying before a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee in 1982, he said: “Truth is the government’s only proper concern in the regulation of advertising practices. False or misleading advertising should be prevented and punished, whenever and wherever it occurs. But nondeceptive advertising of lawful products serves a useful and important public function, and it must be kept free from governmentally imposed restrictions.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=5c02972e52c0f4d5e2bd106c7614112b

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