VML Carries Torch

Kansas City Star honors Valentine Radford founder, Herb Valentine, who recently passed away.

In 1926, Herb Valentine and Earle Radford each headed off to kindergarten at Bryant Elementary School, met in Miss Wally’s class and became instant friends.
Years later, the two hooked up upon returning from World War II and went on to form what was for many years the biggest, highest-profile, most successful advertising agency in the Midwest, Valentine-Radford.
At its peak, V-R had more than 200 employees and more than $140 million in billings.
But at the beginning, the going was tough. It was 1946, and the friends thought they had their post-war lives on track — Valentine was writing copy for TWA, and Radford was doing paste-up at the old R.J. Potts ad agency.
Then TWA pilots went on strike and the airline cut jobs, including Valentine’s. All the sudden, his future wasn’t looking too rosy. So he called up his old friend, who was settled, and persuaded him that they should start an agency.

Scott McCormick, who worked at V-R before starting VML with John Valentine (Herb’s son) and Craig Ligibel said, “Herb wasn’t just a great guy. … He was a great teacher. He taught all of us about respect, honor, integrity, duty” and how true professionals conduct themselves. “As I’ve said so many times over the past 15 years, when I wrote the core values upon which VML was founded, they were my words, but Herb’s voice and ideals.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.