No company can prosper without a deep regard for both the constant values and the changing preferences of those who buy its products. James Fish helped General Mills keep this in focus through a distinguished 41-year career.
In 1938 Fish joined General Mills in the premium section of the advertising department and, three years later, moved into the advertising section of the grocery products division as a product manager.
"What’s in it for the consumer?" was the question Fish asked repeatedly of colleagues. General Mills’ advertising sought always to reflect the wisdom of this insistence.
Dean of graduate programs in business communications at the College of St. Thomas during the 1980s, Fish was an acknowledged master of the art of advertising. Not content with advertising messages only, Fish helped develop one of the most sophisticated and successful consumer service programs in the nation. Through the Betty Crocker Kitchens and the General Mills Consumer Service departments, he argued convincingly for a corporate partnership based on candor and honesty.
Fish was an outspoken supporter for self-regulation throughout the advertising industry. He was a leader in that Better Business movement and in the development of such programs as the National Advertising Review Board and the truth in advertising code of the Ad Club of Minneapolis.
Perhaps most importantly, Fish remained ever sensitive to the needs of others.