ICYMI on LinkedIn or Facebook, Ron Anderson, godfather of Minneapolis advertising, has Alzheimer’s.
According to Matt Anderson, “His memories of his career, family and friends have faded significantly over the past two years. However, it’s always a great day when you can still see some of the old Ron still in him.
“Recently Bruce Schultz stopped by to visit Ron and brought some copies of ads they worked on together for the Billy Graham account.
“It’s good to see fragments of those memories still bring a smile to his face.”
A D D E N D U M
Bruce Schultz writes:
“I didn’t know what to expect because his dementia has progressed. I decided to bring an old-school portfolio to go through some work.
“His eyes lit up and I’m nearly certain he recognized me.
“He studied each piece and commented, although his comments were at times hard to decode. He obviously enjoyed talking about the work.
“He seemed to be trying to reconnect the old circuitry. But even so he’s still that kind and gracious person who has been a blessing to so many.
“At one point, we locked eyes and I thanked him for all those he encouraged along the way.
“With a glint in his blue eyes he said, ‘Thank you.’”
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Minneapolis has the reputation as a source for some of the most creative advertising in the country. You need only look back to the days of Bozell Minneapolis to discover the catalyst for developing many of the great creative minds in our industry, past and present, like Tom McElligott, Nancy Rice, Bob Barrie…his name is RON ANDERSON.
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Some of the happiest days of my life, working with the best group of people ever. Ron made everyone feel special – the thought of painting the Christmas cards with him each year just came to mind. smile emoticon
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What a damn shame about that alzheimers. I was a wannabe art director at Bozell when Ron pulled me out of the scary room and found a spare table, chair, and account to help me become a real art director. He told me I’d get enough line to sink or swim. Thanks Ron for taking a chance and giving it to me.
Ron, if you’re listening: BIG KISS! xoxoxo
So I’m sitting here, this very minute, wrestling with some ad copy, going back and forth, trying a few tricks to unlock the copy and I see all these messages and I think of Ron. I think of his early advice to me, 1984, a hatchling copywriter. I’m looking over at him and I know he’s about to hand me the secret to great copy. Ron says, twinkle in his eye: “Relax. No one reads copy.”
I absolutely adored working for Ron … he treated me like gold … how grateful I am to have had seven and 1/2 years as his personal assistant!
Ron had an impact on many careers beyond Minneapolis as well, mine included.
He always helped me get in and out of taxicabs in NYC, Chicago, or wherever we were shooting. Such a gentleman, a gentle man.
One of my favorite Ron Anderson quotes: “It always amazes me how those who have accomplished so little can be so critical of those who have accomplished so much.” With the advent of the internet, and social media, this thought rings truer today than ever.
Gave me the opportunity to make photos….much appreciated.
And we had to run about 15 blocks in tuxes to make the dinner!
I remember he let me and Mike Gustafson stay in the Bozell penthouse on Fifth Ave when we were in NYC to accept an Andy. Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn were our across-the-hall neighbors.
Ron hired me when I first arrived in Minneapolis. I quickly was lured to Fallon, but he was my start here.
I had the honor of working with Ron in the Minneapolis office from 1976-1980. I was VP Account Management on the Northwestern Bell business. Our charge was to increase long distant toll revenues.
David Bell, president of the B&J Midwest Region was responsible for landing the Bell business. I was moved from B&J Dallas to B&J Minneapolis to manage the Bell business.
The results of the “Smile America” NW Bell campaign led to the “Reach Out and Touch Someone” national Bell campaign that is legendary. Ron and Tom McEilligett were the creative team.
Ron was the most creative mind I know. His creative intelligence is legendary.
His work was not only brilliant, but it met the goals and objectives of our creative work plans and produced results. If he had an ego, I never saw evidence of it.
Working with Ron established for me a level of professionalism by which I measured creative talent for the remainder of my career.
My condolences to his family. God Bless.
I never worked with him but I give my sincerest condolences to his family.
Well, said, Judy. A priviledge to work with such a bright, kind, world class talent. Ron inspired and made everyone he connected with better by measures that extend well beyond the ad biz.
I went on many television shoots with Ron when I was a young producer, and there are just too many wonderful memories to relay here. Ron is one of the kindest, most respectful people I have ever met in this business. He’s a consummate gentleman, and I hope he knows how impactful he was on not just my career, but many others. Nothing but love for Ron Anderson!
I am sad to hear.
I had to interview with Ron for my AAE position. Shortly after that I got to work directly with him and Bert Gardner on the Pork Producers account, coordinating matters with our Omaha office. I was 24 years old. One day we flew to Omaha for a client presentation – watching those two in action was mesmerizing. Truly, they were titans of our industry. I will always remember his gentle and quiet demeanor and innate ability to extract the highest level of creative work possible.
Having worked with Ron twice in my career….Bozell and Bozell Kamstra…and what I remember the most was his enthusiasm for the business!!!
Sometimes when I would be “down” about a pitch that we lost or a problem we were having…he was great at getting me “pumped up” and putting everything in perspective….I am also fortunate enough to have one of his paintings in our lake home in Wisconsin!!!
My prayers are with Ron and his family
The very first project I ever produced was a pro bono PSA with Ron (and Lisa Brandriff) for The American Bible Society. He was such a kind, funny, soft spoken man.
Ron was a great creative force and just as important, a gentleman and all around good guy.
I remember sharing the speakers panel with him at a One Show club meeting in NYC.
He and I became friends when I was ECD in Bozell Dallas and he was with Bozell Minneapolis.
After the One Show gig we went out for drinks and food with several others, and talked old times until closing time.
He will always hold a special place in my memories. He was one of a kind.
I first met Ron as a young account guy in NY. I remember thinking that I had never seen a top exec who was so humble and kind.
I wound up moving to Minneapolis to work in that office, the erstwhile Knox Reeves, which he and David Bell sold to Bozell, and only then did I realize what an icon he really was.
Ron had moved to NY—sending him to NY in exchange for Ron Benza and me was the worst trade since Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps!—and a few months later the AdFed had a luncheon honoring him.
I remember to this day the invitation, the headline of which was, I believe, only two words–”DAD’S HOME.” What a fitting tribute.
I also remember one of my AD friends in the NY office calling me, mystified by his new boss.
“I’ve never seen a Global Creative Director who goes into the studio and gets his hands messy with a glue-pot!”
That was Ron as well–never too big or important to lose connection with the work or the people of the agency.
I’m grateful for knowing him.
I am sad to hear that news that Ron is not well. Always the gentleman, he often stopped by my desk to say hello, and to sample the cookies I had baked.
Nothing but good memories of Ron and his creative direction. . He is in my prayers.
So sorry to hear this news. I worked with Ron in the Minneapolis office for years – he made great advertising, while also being a great guy.
Ron used to come by and shoot baskets with us on our little toy rim. He had surprising good shot.
If he liked the work you were doing he’d say, “Keep it up, young fella.”
If you had work to do, he’d say, “Keep working” or “You’ve got a way to go yet.”
This just makes me so sad.
All of us who had the honor of working with Ron, even for a short time, recognize both his incredible talent and integrity.
We also recognize that his passion and humanity are part of his greatness.
I’ve tried to practice what I learned from him over my career.
Ron is a giant and a true architect and icon of the creative revolution.
I was fortunate to meet and work for Ron early in my career. He was an amazing creative leader and a soft spoken gentlemen.
Like most of the senior management at BJK&E he made a point of knowing your name and made you feel like a part of team.
Bozell was my “Creative Graduate School” and it was an honor knowing him.
Fresh out of college and being able to work with a legend like Ron and even help him with his watercolor art was such an amazing way to start my career.
Ron is the one mentor that I still find myself talking about and thinking about nearly every single day. I may have missed the Golden Age of Bill Bernbach, but I was one of the lucky ones to experience the Silver Age of Ron Anderson.
Ron was a gentleman.
A gigantic talent in a humble, kind and dear human being.
I remember working with Ron on the Chrysler account when he was in New York office of Bozell. I loved working with him and he was such a gracious gentleman.
I remember always going into his office on the 2nd floor, executive row and reviewing all the photography with Ron DeVito and Ron Bacsa, our Art Directors, and Ron would make his select picks. He would always find time to review and reco.
His talent and kind and professional demeanor was such a delight.
When he walked the hallways you brought such a bight spot to everyone he encountered.
He also lived in my town of Ridgewood, NJ and I recall on a number of occasions that I had to drop off some creative to his townhouse that he and his Wife owned.
He always invited me in and wanted to thank me for going out of my way to bring him related Chrysler material.
My hat is tossed in the air to this wonderful MAN… Love you Ron !
Same here, Ellen. He was one of the greats, both humble and proud of what he’d accomplished. There are a lot of great ad careers today because of him.
Ron was an icon to me. Whenever I worked with him he treated me as an equal and that astounded me. I still feel honored. What talent and kindness and fun.
Ron was always there with a kind and smart word.
dear ron: Be strong…my mother had alzheimer’s and at the time, there were no medications to help her. Now they have many more meds to help the alzheimer’s disease from progressing. keep busy and keep in touch with friends. You were always very kind to me and I certainly appreciated it. With fond regards, corinne
huge man huge talent ginormous soul. love you Ron
I had the pleasure of working for Ron in NY.
My favorite quote of his to an account guy in a Chrysler meeting after hearing the budget and the deliverables:
“Well young fella, that’s like trying to fertilize a field with a fart.”
I would have to say Ron is one of the sharpest creative talents to come out of Bozell and one heck of a nice guy. It was always an honor just to talk to him.
Truly a high point in my career, working with Ron at Bozell Minneapolis.
Great man who always made everyone feel special and Ron is indeed special.
I first met Ron when I was an administrative assistant. He was such a kind and generous man with a gentle sense of humor.
Later, he became the creative director on Pfizer when I was the account executive.
In one terrible, mismanaged shoot, the photographer had chosen a red tipped thermometer because it popped so well against the purple sweater worn by the little girl in the shot.
We later found out thermometers are tipped in red to indicate they are anal thermometers.
Ron stepped in and saved the day, but we sure did giggle about that.
Best wishes to you and your family.
Thinking good thoughts. Abrazos.
Thanks for the update. Although here it’s a bit like saying ‘thank you’ to the dentist. Appreciate it. Damn, we’re getting old.
To be clear, I was not one of the fortunate ones who worked with Ron at Bozell. We had become friends and when I started my own shop, he freely shared many pearls of wisdom over lunches at The Loon. Later, we would occasionally work on some of the Billy Graham stuff. As much as I admire and respect Ron, I also hold in high regard the amazing creatives he nurtured along the way at Bozell and the wonderful work you did.
I worked on ads with Ron for Billy Graham, too. Wish I was there to show him. He was one, huge influence in my career.
Ron lifted us all up.
He really DID do so much of the heavy lifting and held us up to reach for the stars. (I fell more than once, but he always hoisted me back up.)
Ron greatly impacted a community, which impacted an industry.
And he impacted an agency which impacted many individuals.
Reminds me of how former Packers revered Lombardi.
Sure they won lots of championships and that made him a legend and put many players in the HoF.
But the players all remember him by what he meant to their LIVES, not just their careers.
He helped them be their best in football AND in life.
That’s how I will always look at Ron.
Very sad news. Both my grandmother and my father had Alzheimer’s. It’s a terrible thing to fight through and endure. If good wishes could cure that disease, Ron would be the first one fixed.
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