Did Bill Bernbach Foresee Social Media?

William (Bill) Bernbach (August 13, 1911 – October 2, 1982) was an American advertising creative director.

William Bill Bernbach’s status as a visionary is legendary, but I’m still blown away by his prescience. Consider the following dedication Bernbach wrote for a book he never finished – and keep in mind that he died in 1982 when the three major TV networks and the seven sisters of print still dominated, and the marketing world centered on the needs of clients rather than consumers:

“We in the communications field – in radio, in television, in magazines, in newspapers, in posters – have developed unprecedented skills in mass persuasion. You and I can no longer isolate our lives. It just won’t work. What happens to society is going to affect us with increasing rapidity. The world has progressed to the point where its most powerful force is public opinion. And I believe that in this new, complex, dynamic world it is not the great book or the epic play, as once was the case, that will shape that opinion, but those who understand mass media and the techniques of mass persuasion. The metabolism of the world has changed. New vehicles must carry ideas to it. We must ally ourselves with great ideas and carry them to the public. We must practice our skills on behalf of society. We must not just believe in what we sell. We must sell what we believe in. And we must pour a vast energy into these causes.”

       Also in the late 1950s, advertising legend William Bill Bernbach came up with the idea of pairing art directors and copywriters into teams, see 17 clever illustrations that show the differences between copywriters and art directors

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