Having spent his entire career in San Francisco, Hal Riney is credited by his peers as being the major influence in shaping his city¿s reputation as a center of creative American advertising. During his 46 years in the business, Riney served as creative director in four San Francisco agencies — each of which would become a dominant winner in western and national advertising competitions. At last count, 28 ad agencies have been founded by creative people from Riney¿s staff.
Named by ADWEEK in 1993 as the best television copywriter in the U.S., Riney actually received his college degree in art, planning a career as an advertising art director. Upon graduating from the University of Washington in 1954, Riney served two years in the army as a writer, heading a public relations office in Italy. He then joined the San Francisco office of BBDO, at that time the city¿s largest agency. After a few weeks in the mailroom, Riney entered the art department, becoming head art director in 1965 and creative director three years later.
In 1976 Riney opened the San Francisco office of Ogilvy & Mather. Starting from scratch in a tiny brick garage, Riney¿s Ogilvy office was to become the creative star of the agency¿s empire. During this period and the years following, Riney was to personally author three of the 100 ad campaigns selected by Advertising Age as the best of the 20th century.
In 1985 Riney acquired the Ogilvy office, and the agency¿s success continued under a new name: Hal Riney & Partners. (Riney¿s company is now owned by France¿s Publicis Group, having been renamed Publicis & Hal Riney.)
Among Riney¿s most notable efforts is the campaign for President Reagan¿s 1984 reelection,"It¿s Morning Again in America." Riney also developed strategies and campaigns for a variety of new products, occasionally naming them as well. Among these was Gallo¿s Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler. In creating the characters "Frank and Ed," Riney not only named the product, but wrote its 143 commercials over a period of three years — an industry record.
Tiring of serving advertising¿s most challenging client for an unprecedented seven years, Riney resigned Gallo in 1988, giving up nearly half of his agency¿s income. But shortly thereafter, Riney Riney & Partners was chosen to introduce the first new American car in decades. Under Riney¿s leadership, the agency was instrumental in developing the strategy and advertising that made the Saturn launch the most successful in automotive history.
A lifelong fly fisherman, Riney has contributed his time and talents to a variety of conservation organizations, including Audubon, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy. In addition, over the past 25 years, Riney¿s agencies have provided pro-bono work for more than 40 cultural and civic non-profit organizations.
Among his hundreds of awards, Hal Riney has won the highest honors in advertising competitions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Cannes, as well as 19 Clios and an Academy Award nomination. In 1994 he became the 30th member of advertising¿s Creative Hall of Fame.