Jerry Mander, Adman for Radical Causes, Dies at 86

Published: April 30, 2023

Jerry Mander, whose iconoclastic pondering led him to create promoting campaigns for nonprofits like one for the Sierra Club in 1966 to combat a plan to construct two dams within the Grand Canyon and a company to boost consciousness concerning the risks of financial globalization, died on April 11 at his dwelling in Honokaa, Hawaii. He was 86.

His son Kai confirmed the loss of life however didn’t present a trigger.

In 1966, Mr. Mander was working at Freeman & Gossage, an promoting company in San Francisco, when David Brower, the manager director of the Sierra Club, requested for assist in framing the conservation group’s opposition to the federal authorities’s development of hydroelectric dams on the Colorado River.

The full-page newspaper advertisements created by the company grabbed nationwide consideration and angered proponents of the challenge in Congress, who denied the Sierra Club’s claims that the dams would flood and desecrate the canyon.

“Now Only You Can Save Grand Canyon From Being Flooded … For Profit,” learn the headline of one of many advertisements written by Mr. Mander. It included coupons with messages that readers may clip and ship to public officers, together with to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Stewart Udall, secretary of the inside.

The act of clipping and mailing the coupons “radicalizes the sender at least as much as it impresses the receiver,” Mr. Mander wrote in “70 Ads to Save the World: An Illustrated Memoir of Social Change” (2022). To somebody in authority who receives 5,000 coupons, he added, the motion “may actually have far greater impact, and bring far more attention, than, for example, thousands of tweets.”

The marketing campaign — and different components — led the federal government in early 1967 to drop its plan to construct the dams. (It additionally induced the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the Sierra Club’s tax exemption for attempting to affect laws.)

Working with the Sierra Club helped Mr. Mander to see a future during which he may use his advertising abilities for the general public good, reasonably than to assist purchasers maximize income.

After Howard Gossage, the advert company’s founder, died in 1969 and the company later shut down, Mr. Mander helped begin Public Interest Communications, which assisted nonprofits and people in campaigns like one to oppose growth in San Francisco and one other towards a water challenge in Northern California.

He later moved to the Public Media Center, the place, as a senior fellow over about 20 years, he wrote commercials for nonprofit teams like Planned Parenthood, Public Citizen, Earth Island Institute (which Mr. Brower based) and the Sierra Club.

One of his attention-grabbing advertisements for a Planned Parenthood abortion rights marketing campaign appeared in newspapers in 1985. It featured pictures of two ladies, accompanied by their accounts of getting unlawful abortions; {a photograph} of a firebombed abortion clinic; an inventory of 9 explanation why abortions are authorized; and three coupons with totally different messages, one addressed to Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

Mr. Mander wrote a e book reflecting on his issues concerning the societal results of know-how, promoting and tv.Credit…William Morrow

“He was a countercultural type who wanted to reset the frame of how people looked at modern life,” Jono Polansky, who was the artistic director of the Public Media Center, stated in a phone interview. In the complete web page print advertisements that have been 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?’”

Jerold Irwin Mander was born on May 1, 1936, within the Bronx, and grew up in Yonkers, N.Y., in Westchester County. His father, Harry, owned a enterprise in Manhattan’s garment district that made linings for males’s clothes. His mom, Eva Mander, was a homemaker. His dad and mom weren’t conscious that their son’s identify sounded precisely just like the political time period for manipulating election districts to favor one social gathering, Kai Mander stated.

After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s diploma in economics in 1957, Mr. Mander earned a grasp’s in worldwide economics from the Columbia Business School in 1959. He briefly labored in public relations for the Worthington Corporation, in Newark earlier than transferring to San Francisco, the place he received a job within the publicity division of the San Francisco International Film Festival.

He quickly opened his personal public relations agency, whose purchasers included The Committee, an improvisational theater group. In early 1966, he created an audacious advert in The San Francisco Chronicle that mocked what he recalled was a deliberate Pentagon airdrop of toys to Vietnamese youngsters. The advert promised that The Committee would acquire battle toys (two whimsical suggestions: a plastic bazooka and an atomic tank that ejects napalm) for the Defense Department and drop them on the Pentagon from a helicopter.

His full-time promoting profession began quickly after with a name from Mr. Gossage, who stated that he beloved the battle toys advert and requested him to affix his company, the place he turned a accomplice.

His work more and more mirrored his suspicions concerning the societal results of know-how, promoting and tv. Those issues led him to put in writing “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” (1978), which contended, amongst different issues, that the medium isolates viewers, dulls their minds and lays the groundwork for an autocracy.

In the Nineties, he focused financial globalization, embodied in organizations just like the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In the early Nineties, he created a assume tank, the International Forum on Globalization, by convening activist leaders involved how the organizations’ insurance policies adversely affected international well being and environmental requirements, meals safety and jobs around the globe.

“He understood the issues, knew all the thought leaders and had a great ability to synthesize very complicated issues and make them meaningful to people’s lives,” Debbie Barker, a former co-director of the discussion board, stated.

Over the subsequent decade, the group revealed studies on varied points and held multiday teach-ins attended by as many as a couple of thousand folks in cities the place the organizations met. At the 1999 World Trade Organization assembly in Seattle, the police used tear gasoline on protesters who had blocked elements of downtown.

“We are entering the world of corporate rule,” Mr. Mander stated to a crowd of 1,300 on the Seattle teach-in. He added that of the world’s high economies, 52 have been companies, and “while corporate profits are higher than they have ever been, real wages are dropping. C.E.O.s of major corporations earn 419 times more than the average line worker.”

The assume tank was largely financed by Douglas Tompkins, the conservationist and founding father of the Esprit and North Face clothes manufacturers. He additionally employed Mr. Mander as program director of the Foundation for Deep Ecology, which is devoted to preserving wild nature.

The discussion board’s momentum slowed after the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults as many activists moved towards antiwar protests.

“Every time I talked to him, Jerry would say, ‘We have to get the I.F.G. back together,’” stated John Cavanagh, who chaired the group and was the director of the Institute for Policy Studies. “Others would say it wasn’t successful because we didn’t stop those institutions. But it slowed them down and raised skepticism about them.”

In addition to his son, Kai, Mr. Mander is survived by one other son, Yari, and his spouse, Koohan Paik-Mander. His marriages to Anica Vesel and Elizabeth Garsonnin led to divorce.

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