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A Giant No Longer Walks Among Us

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A consummate ad man, Hal Riney died Monday. If you’ve been in this business more than a few months, certainly you’ve at least heard his name.

He was a visionary leader and innovator in our business.

I was a neophyte copywriter when I first heard of Hal Riney. He and his Tuesday Team put together the 1984 “It’s Morning Again in America” campaign for Ronald Reagan’s re-election. That was the campaign that made me fall in love with this business. I had worked a couple of years for in local politics for now-senator Mitch McConnell and there’s a magical convergence of energy when you combine politics and advertising. So I was sucked in my Riney’s (yes, he did the v/o) calming, almost grandfatherly voice broadcast over soft, gauzed images of a fresh dawn in America. Regardless of your political leaning, this campaign was arresting. It was compelling. It was perfection.

Other folks may know Riney for the true breakthrough of his Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers campaign. Frank was generally the spokesman while Ed, who seldom spoke but provided great sight gags, lovingly displayed the product. Frank ended each spot the only fitting way I could end this all-too-short tribute to Hal Riney, “thank you for your support.”

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