Lester Wunderman, founder of Wunderman, passes away at 98

Wunderman, known as the father of direct marketing, along with his brother Irving and colleagues Ed Ricotta and Harry Kline, founded Wunderman, Ricotta & Klein in 1958

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 9:10 AM

Wunderman founder, Lester Wunderman, has passed away on 9 January 2019, at the age of 98, according to reports. Widely credited to be the father of direct marketing, Lester Wunderman, along with his brother Irving and colleagues, Ed Ricotta and Harry Klein founded Wunderman, Ricotta and Klein (WRK) in 1958 in New York. The company was acquired by Young & Rubicam in 1973 and then went on to become Wunderman Worldwide in the 1980s.

Retiring from the helm of the agency in 1998, Lester Wunderman continued to serve as Chairman Emeritus in his later years.

Wunderman was elected to the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 1983 and the  Advertising Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2001, he was named one of the “great pitchmen over the years” by Time magazine. 

His book, Frontiers of Direct Marketing, was published in 1981, while his other book, Being Direct: Making Advertising Pay, was published in January 1997 and reissued in 2004 to include new information, along with the first-ever Consumer’s Communications Bill of Rights, and his views on the Internet.

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