|Images enlarge when clicked.
By his obit,
Meares was “a marketing director” at Johnson and Johnson, Inc. After James Edward
Burke (1925-2012) moved from Procter & Gamble, he – in 1956 as JNJ Director
of Product Development, New Products Division – brought my father, former
Director of Marketing Research with Kroger Company at Cincinnati, to New Brunswick, NJ.[i] I recall Art Meares by name … in sordid,
cautionary tale dispensed during family foray to Manhattan. Wife Mary
(Thompson) Meares (1917-1965) lagged behind a bevy of couples in jaunt while being
wined and dined by an advertising agency Account Services Executive. Not until
the group gathered at far end of midtown crosswalk did any realize Mrs. Meares
had departed them: in a generally free-for-all world of hurried jaywalking, a taxi had dragged
her body from protected space into the next block. “Look both ways,” my parents
admonished their children with all seriousness.
My father’s Membership Card surfaced as I cleared decks in preparation to update Wild Confusion in Every Direction with print and audio campaign relative to the Hardesty Chemical Co. I was already thinking of advertising.
I knew other couples in that traumatized Manhattan bevy. Heady atmosphere of booze, high life and Madison Avenue entranced me in AMC production of Mad Men, 2007-2015. Though the show’s creator Matthew Weiner was dismissive of market researchers, I was alerted early on, by a peer of my father's, that lead character was based on Draper Daniels (1913-1983).[ii] Hardesty had been in Media and Marketing Research Department with McCann Erickson advertising agency before taking up with Kroger. Daniels was also at Chicago. As a Creative Director at Leo Burnett’s agency. Jane Maas (1932-2018) in 2012 memoir claimed Mad Men character Peggy Olson was based on her 1964 entry into Manhattan office of Ogilvy & Mather agency as Junior Copywriter. I grew up with execs from all these agencies seeking to seduce my father in attempts to lure new product accounts to their firms: the show enthralled me as recount of wildly imaginative persons from my childhood.[iii]
“By luring top marketing people from Procter & Gamble, Burke was able to put together several highly successful advertising campaigns,” reads entry at encyclopedia.com.[iv] Where authors documented and marveled at achievements. Hardesty later asserted that, upon leaving Kroger, he entered job hunt … searching for a corporation an expectant, first-time father might like to work for.
He had criteria beyond compensation.
I have, in this Mothers’ Day draft
of blog post, just now realized I’ve fallen not far from the tree. I take great
satisfaction from historical research; I had but dimly realized that my father obtained
M.B.A. from Northwestern University … while majoring in Market Research. Both
of us have held interest in study for a true nature of things.
[i] Witnesses stated Burke installed Hardesty in HQ office far from that of Chairman Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. That ‘General’ Johnson did not have faith in market research. Early in tenure that would place him as CEO of JNJ, Burke did not want his superior to see him as unnecessarily progressive.