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Jay Chiat

(1931—2002)


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(1931–2002)

Founder of Chiat/Day Agency, New York. Jay Chiat created an innovative style of advertising fused with popular culture that revolutionized the industry in the 1970s and ’80s. His agency, Chiat/Day, grew from its single Los Angeles office in 1968, to an international agency with 1,200 employees and billings of $1.3 bn in the early ’90s. Chiat/Day, known for creativity and innovation, introduced the British discipline of account planning to the US; he set up unconventional work environments like the ‘virtual agency’ in the company's New York offices.

Born Morton Jay Chiat in the Bronx on 25 October 1931, he worked on recruitment advertising for Aerojet General, an Air Force contractor, and then joined a small advertising agency in Orange County, California. He opened Jay Chiat & Associates in 1962 before merging with another small agency, Faust/Day, in 1968, which became Chiat/Day. He sold his advertising agency to the Omnicom Group in 1995. Chiat/Day earned the coveted title of agency of the decade from Advertising Age magazine, as well as agency of the year in 1980 and 1988. In 1998, Chiat became acting chief executive of Screaming Media, an Internet content distributor, and took on the role of chairman in 1999. Advertising Age named him one of the top 10 on a list of 100 top players who had shaped the course of advertising history.

Chiat introduced Apple Computers' Macintosh PC to millions of viewers with his celebrated ‘1984’ commercial during Super Bowl XVIII (see also advertising). While the mini-film was shown on national television only once, it set the tone for future Super Bowl commercials. With Chiat's influence, Nike became the ‘unofficial’ footwear of the 1984 Summer Olympics after he ran a campaign that featured Randy Newman singing ‘I Love LA’. Five years later, he made the popular Energizer bunny commercial.

Subjects: Marketing.


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