Adman for Radical Causes Dies at 86
‘Jerry Mander, whose iconoclastic thinking led him to create advertising campaigns for nonprofits like one for the Sierra Club in 1966 to fight a plan to build two dams in the Grand Canyon and an organization to raise awareness about the dangers of economic globalization, died on April 11 at his home in Honokaa, Hawaii. He was 86.
…In 1966, Mr. Mander was working at Freeman & Gossage, an advertising agency in San Francisco, when David Brower, the executive director of the Sierra Club, asked for help in framing the conservation group’s opposition to the federal government’s construction of hydroelectric dams on the Colorado River.
…“He was a countercultural type who wanted to reset the frame of how people looked at modern life,” Jono Polansky, who was the creative director of the Public Media Center, said in a telephone interview. In the full page print ads that were Mr. Mander’s specialty, Mr. Polansky added, “He could break a problem down and say, ‘How do you tell a story to people and give them a place to do something about it?’”
…His work increasingly reflected his suspicions about the societal effects of technology, advertising and television. Those concerns led him to write “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” (1978), which contended, among other things, that the medium isolates viewers, dulls their minds and lays the groundwork for an autocracy….’ (The New York Times)
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television was, at the time it came out, heavily shaped my social thinking, and its importance has if anything been enhanced in the intervening decades.