Obituary: Jack Goldsmith / Took new approach toward advertising
Aug. 19, 1927 — Jan. 6, 2017
January 10, 2017 12:00 AM
By Anya Sostek / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After a few years working in advertising in the 1950s, Jack Goldsmith became convinced that the industry had it backward.
“In those days, advertising agencies were like production houses — they did ads,” said longtime friend and colleague Tony Bucci. “Jack came from the point of view that you had to be a business consultant to understand the business needs. The advertising that came out was the end of the process, not the beginning.”
In 1955, Mr. Goldsmith used that logic to co-found MARC & Co., an acronym for marketing, advertising, research and consulting. The company used that full-service approach with clients such as McDonald’s, The Limited, Kennywood and Arby’s, growing into the largest agency in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Goldsmith, known for his close relationship with clients and employees, died Friday at age 89.
“They say everybody loved Jack,” said Mr. Bucci, chairman and CEO of the agency, now called Marc USA. “He was just a wonderful human being.”
One of Mr. Goldsmith’s first clients at MARC was a local McDonald’s franchisee, Jim Delligatti, who was pioneering a new hamburger. They partnered on advertising the burger, turning the Big Mac into a worldwide sensation. They later had similar success with the McDonald’s breakfast menu.
Mr. Goldsmith grew up in Turtle Creek and moved to Squirrel Hill as a teenager, excelling at basketball despite his short stature. He earned a basketball scholarship to Eastern Montana State but instead attended the University of Pittsburgh through the GI Bill after serving in the Navy at the end of World War II.
He graduated from Pitt in 1950 and was recalled into the Navy during the Korean War, serving at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard until 1952.
With Lou Cardemone, he founded MARC & Co. three years later.
He distinguished himself not just with brand strategy and ad campaigns but with the relationships that he formed, said Jeff Maggs, a former MARC employee who is now chief client officer at Brunner.
“There was no one better at making you feel like you were the most important thing in that moment,” he said, noting that Mr. Goldsmith would coach him not just on general life strategy but also in the smallest details, such as which seat to take in a meeting.
And while Mr. Goldsmith was funny and self-deprecating, he was also demanding.
“He was a tough son of a gun” he said. “Those clients meant something to him and he had high expectations.”
Mr. Goldsmith left MARC in 1985 to go into private consulting, working with clients such as Pizza Hut, Mrs. Fields Cookies and Rent-A-Center. He always kept at office at MARC & Co., however, and would regularly come into the office on Wednesdays.
Mr. Goldsmith, a lifelong bachelor, is survived by a niece, Carol Schreiber of California.
The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Rodef Shalom Temple, with visitation one hour before the service. Mr. Goldsmith will be interred at West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. Contributions may be made to Bethlehem Haven or YMCA Camp Kon-o-Kwee Spencer.
Anya Sostek: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1308.