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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023




Jerry McGee

Ogilvy & Mather


Age: 52

For Jerry McGee, the most satisfying aspect of advertising is to watch an idea come to life.

When a campaign is wildly successful, he says it can be an exhilarating feeling. The best example of this might have been when McGee was hard pressed to come up with a new idea for Hershey’s chocolates.

“I was sitting eating a Hershey’s Kiss one day and the thought just struck me they should have something to represent hugs,” said McGee, who is president of the company’s west coast operations.

“When I saw the first Hershey’s Hugs on the shelf at the store I went ballistic,” he said. “You feel so proud, that your work matters, and that you’ve accomplished something.”

While working on a campaign for Owens-Corning Fiberglas, he came up with the company’s mascot “The Pink Panther.” Other products he’s helped promote include Shell Oil, Mattel’s Barbie and General Food’s Maxwell House coffee.

McGee has also produced television spots for politicians including Gerald Ford’s bid for re-election and Gil Garcetti’s most recent campaign for district attorney.

McGee’s success is a far cry from what he was doing before advertising.

“I went to the University of Arizona not to study, but to play baseball I was an awful student,” said McGee, who dropped out of college to hold down jobs as a disc jockey and used car salesman before going into advertising.

“I got lucky and landed a job in advertising, and found out that it was finally something I was good at,” he said. “I can’t think of what else I’d be doing.”

McGee has kept many of his original clients over the years including Mattel and General Foods. He handles several big name accounts out of the L.A. office including Dolly Parton’s Dollywood in Tennessee, Pan Pacific Hotels, Korean Air and FHP International Corp.

Joe Bel Bruno

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