Mary Lawrence (May 25, 1928 – May 11, 2024)

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Businesswoman. A trailblazing executive, she was one of the earliest women to experience a highly successful career in the advertising industry. Along with Dick Rich and Stewart Greene, she formed the Wells, Rich, Greene Advertising Agency (1966), which became known for such high-profile ads as the Plop, Plop, Fizz Fizz slogan for Alka-Seltzer, the I Love New York add and the Trust the Midas Touch slogan. All became memorable TV commercials.

Her father was a furniture salesman. Mary took dance and acting lessons during her youth to overcome her shyness. She went on to study drama at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After gaining experience as a copywriter with a Youngstown department store, she relocated to New York where she landed a position as fashion advertising manager with Macy’s. Following stints at McCann & Erickson, Inc., and Jack Tinker & Partners (where she worked with Rich and Greene), she formed her own company with the pair in 1966. After the agency went public in 1968, she made history when she became the first female CEO of a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1971, she was named Advertising Woman of the Year by the American Advertising Federation. She retired from the industry in 1990 and was inducted into the American Advertising Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2002, she penned an autobiography titled A Big Life (In Advertising).


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