Phil Dusenberry is often cited as the person most responsible for turning BBDO into the creative powerhouse it is today. In recognition of his accomplishments, he has been repeatedly honored by the advertising industry, including being named one of the "Top 100 Advertising People" of the past century by Advertising Age.
As an influential creative, Dusenberry spoke to emotion as well as intellect, through theme lines like GE¿s "We bring good things to life" and campaigns for Pepsi, Pizza Hut and many more. He elevated advertising into a form of entertainment with a commitment to emotion, humanity and unwavering energy and verve. His long list of awards includes ADDYs, Clios, One Show Pencils, Gold Lions at Cannes and more.
Beginning as a copywriter at BBDO in 1962, he rose up the ranks to chief creative officer, then to chairman and CEO of BBDO New York and finally chairman of BBDO North America. His leadership saw unprecedented growth in the agency with the addition of renowned brands such as Visa, FedEx, HBO and Pizza Hut. The agency has been recognized with numerous awards, including being selected "Agency of the Year" in 1993 by both Advertising Age and ADWEEK, and "Global Agency Network of the Year" by Advertising Age and Ad Age Global in both 2000 and 2001. This success is underscored by Dusenberry¿s commitment to creativity and "The work, the work, the work," which became BBDO¿s mantra. As a boss, he was well known as a mentor and source of inspiration, urging young talent to go beyond what they thought they could accomplish to create work they could be especially proud of. Not surprisingly, creativity became the focus of his agenda as chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 2001.
His contributions to the betterment of society are unending. He headed the team that created the public-service campaign, "The New York Miracle," aimed to rally the spirit of New York after the attacks on September 11. He spearheaded the Advertising Council¿s campaign for freedom and their Freedom Corps campaign urging volunteerism. He is an active member of the STAR Foundation, on the board of the NY Coalition for the Homeless and the Silver Shield Foundation of NY, and was named to the board for Mayor Giuliani¿s Twin Tower Fund. He is also well-known for his key contributions on "The Tuesday Team," whose advertising helped get Ronald Reagan re-elected in 1984.
This creativity and brilliance extend beyond the advertising industry in many ways. Perhaps most notably, Dusenberry was the co-author of the screenplay for the Robert Redford movie The Natural.
In 2005, Dusenberry shared anecdotes and lessons from his career in the engaging and instructive memoir Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall of Fame Career in Advertising.