RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—David N. Martin, co-founder of The Martin Agency, and the man who gave the state its heart in the Virginia is for Lovers campaign, has died at age 82.
He also gave Madison Avenue a run for its money. The Martin Agency confirmed this afternoon that he passed away.
The agency began as a partnership with George Woltz in 1965, and was called Martin and Woltz until its renaming as The Martin Agency.
“The thing he tried to do in 1965, is the same job the Martin Agency is trying to do now, which is surprise, delight and break through the clutter, and use creativity to help companies bottom line grow,”Joe Alexander, Executive Creative Director of The Martin Agency, said.
Mr Martin helped to craft the campaign “Virginia Is for Lovers,” in 1969 and it remains popular today.
“When David Martin first started, he looked in New York and saw what [advertising executive] Bill Bernbach was doing with Volkswagen and said ‘we’re going to do that here’. He made work that went out of the local market…. when he created the work Virginia is for Lovers, all of a sudden the national press went ‘whoa’," Alexander said.
According to the agency, they have been ranked among the top five advertising agencies by national publications and industry leaders alike. In 2010, Adweek Magazine gave the agency top honors with the “U.S. Agency of the Year” award.
Many iconic characters and campaigns have been created at the headquarters, which is located in Shockoe Bottom.
The agency helped launch the popular Geico and UPS commercials and their client roster list includes Walmart, Pizza Hut, ESPN, Comcast, Tylenol and Pizza Hut, just to name a few.
“There`s a lot of amazing lives he touched because of the business he built…. I think mostly he`ll be remembered for putting Richmond on the advertising map,” Alexander said.
He leaves behind his wife Louise of 20 years, four children and nine grandchildren.
Make sure to click on the video for a look at the man who became a legend.