Lawrence William Brown, of East Quogue, an ad writer known in the classic period of Madison Avenue advertising for his brash approach, bold ideas and unique style, died on June 29. The cause was pneumonia complicated by a heart attack. He was 68.
Born in 1945 in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan to William Brown and Grace LaBonty Brown, Larry was constructing television sets and radio studios in the family basement by age 14. He hitchhiked to Hollywood at 17 and began selling radio ads, but soon left there for New York City.
At 21 he had already opened his second ad agency in the Seagram building, the first “youth market” ad agency, with college campaigns for TIME magazine, and the U.S. Navy ‘s first ever advertising.
This led to his work on Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign for which he created ads aimed at young people, as well as the presidential campaigns of Nelson Rockefeller and Walter Mondale. He also created Mario Cuomo’s campaign for Lt. Governor of New York, which was Cuomo’s entry into politics.
Ambassador William vanden Heuvel, who was U. S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s assistant when he hired Larry for Kennedy’s presidential campaign, noted, “His passion for justice was reflected in his brilliant and creative work.”
He worked for such iconic agencies as Doyle, Dane Bernbach, Carl Ally Inc. and Scali, McCabe Sloves, as well as with Mary Wells of Wells Rich Greene, Bill Bernbach and Charlie Moss. Larry’s technique was based on deep research and finding the “magical fact” about a product.
In 1981, Larry created and hosted The Advertising Show for the new cable TV medium. The series was sponsored by both The New Yorker and Advertising Age magazines.
Perhaps his most enduring legacy is the “I Love NY” campaign. In a 1975 article in Advertising Age Larry floated the idea that Madison Avenue could rescue New York from a deep economic slump and the perception that the city was a crime-ridden tourist hellhole. He suggested New York could be branded and resurrected by great advertising.
Wells Rich Greene teamed up with designer Milton Glaser to produce a campaign that is still going strong after nearly 50 years.
Larry had been based in the Hamptons for many years, bringing his unique brand of advertising to local businesses. His creative spark never left him and he continued to consult for advertisers and media while developing new media enterprises for the internet century.
During his brief marriage to Daniela Muccino, which ended in divorce, the couple had one son, Dylan Brown, in 1971. Larry is survived by his son Dylan, of Los Angeles, and three brothers: Chris and Arthur in Los Angeles, California and Paul in Denver, Colorado. In addition, he is survived by his three sisters: Linda Brown of Santa Barbara, California, Colleen Sanchez of Laguna Niguel, California and Jacqueline Brown Finn of Walton, New York.
Read Google$chmoogle!!! by Lawrence Brown to learn more about his advertising insights and the inside story of the pioneering advertising, marketing and media work he is remembered for on Madison Avenue, in the Hamptons and on the internet.