The Ad Biz Loses A Legend–And A Legendary Voice

From Ad Age:

Hal Riney, the legendary adman whose work influenced presidential campaigns and whose vision helped shape auto marketing and many other aspects of the business, died yesterday of cancer. He was 75.
During his career of almost 50 years, Mr. Riney developed advertising around the notion that understatement sold better than overstatement, and any conclusions about a product were better left to the audience. He also pushed against advertising that was intrusive or insulting, and he wasn’t ashamed of ads that made people laugh or cry.

Here now, a tribute to that voice:

Sorry that with a quick search I could only find Reagan spots, but hey, only Hal Riney had a voice that was better than Ronald Reagan’s.
R.I.P. Hal.
UPDATE: Okay, here’s one for First Union:

And one for Gallo:

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. when i was struggling to break into advertising i met hal at his irish cousin’s pub in queens, nyc. hal had sneaked out of the hal riney nyc office’s xmas party to come to the pub xmas party. it was very late. so it’s kind of a blur. but i do remember meeting him.
    only later did i realize who he was. he was arguably the greatest writer in the history of american advertising.
    i recorded some radio with him much later.

  2. Riney was truly a genius. Don’t mean for this to be taken the wrong way, but his amazing voice was the result of smoking. Dusenberry was also a smoker. Again, don’t mean to detract from saluting these men. But we should all consider what cigarettes are really doing to people.