Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kummerfeldt, Irvan J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Doyle Dane Bernbach; Inc.--History; Advertising agencies--United States--History; Advertising--United States--History


This thesis is a historical analysis of the Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) advertising agency. The thesis was undertaken to learn about advertising agencies in general, as well as the DDB agency specifically. The DDB agency was chosen on the basis of the reputation for creative genius enjoyed by one of its founders, William Bernbach. William Bernbach created many successful advertising campaigns in his career. The "We try harder" campaign for Avis made the company number one among rent-a-car companies and the slogan "We try harder" became famous. The "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's bread" made the company the top-selling baker of rye bread in New York. This thesis will cover the period from 1949, when the agency was founded, to 1986, when the agency merged. Information was gathered by studying advertising-related publications, general interest magazines and books, plus information that was supplied by the DDB agency itself. The sources yielded much information about the advertising agency industry in general, as well as the DDB agency specifically. Throughout the thesis, we show problems in the DDB agency's growth, billings, and acquisitions as well as others, that led it to seek a merger. These last problems include its decision to sell its stock to the public, its efforts at diversification, its uncertain leadership problems, and the harassment encountered by Maxwell Dane and the agency that was generated by the Nixon White House.


Bibliography: pages [149]-160.


v, 160 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type