David Bernstein, advertising industry veteran, founder of The Creative Business and long-standing agency creative director died on Friday 25th August aged 89.

Born in London and educated at Oxford University, Bernstein worked for more than five decades in the UK ad industry, starting his career as a copywriter, TV producer and creative director at Benson, Comptons, McCann Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather where he famously created two of the adverts shown on commercial TV’s first night in 1955.

Bernstein authored seven books and a great deal of his work, including ‘Company Image & Reality’ and ‘Advertising Outdoors’, are still held up as timeless industry classics.

In 1966, Bernstein was one of four of UK advertising’s most influential figures tasked by the Advertising Association to present at our annual conference in Brighton on the importance of creative risks for advertisers.

Then, as now, the advertising industry did not enjoy a faultless reputation. Trustworthy stakes placed advertising people marginally above journalists and estate agents.

The resulting 50-minute black-and-white film presentation, titled ‘Risk and Responsibility’, remains as relevant today as it was then. It sets out to convince the advertiser that creative risk-taking is essential to effective advertising.

In 1972 David Bernstein went on to become a founder of The Creative Business with the former FCB senior manager Laurence Isaacson. With the likes of Reckitt & Colman, Nestlé, London Weekend Television, Guinness, British Rail, Shell and Unilever as their clients, it was while he was chairman of The Creative Business, that he was awarded the Advertising Association’s 1982 Mackintosh Medal for “outstanding personal and public service to advertising.”

The award describes Mr Bernstein as one of the most distinguished members of the advertising profession,

“One of the most successful and one of the most internationally-minded amongst the creative leaders of this country. He had an unusually early awareness of the need for British advertising expertise to move into the most important EEC markets and he has actually done something about it.”

Former president of the Creative Circle, former president of the Solus Club, governor of St Martin’s School of Art and member of the governing board of SHAPE, David Bernstein also served on two of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s committees and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

He became a trustee of the History of Advertising Trust shortly after the charity was set up in 1974 and remained so until his death.

HAT’s chairman, Geoff Russell, (and here at the Advertising Association we’re very much in agreement!) sees “David as one of the industry’s true legends.”

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