Everyone roots for the little guy. That was ad agency owner Raymond Rosenberg's theory when he created a jingle for an obscure Philadelphia car dealer. "Who's the world's smallest Chevrolet dealer? Me - Marv Pollow" turned Pollow's into a household name as it ran on local radio for 25 years, until 1986.
Mr. Rosenberg, 88, of Haverford, who headed Yardis Advertising in Center City and later in Lower Merion, died of a heart attack Friday, Dec. 17, on a cruise ship in the Bahamas.
Mr. Rosenberg launched numerous successful ad campaigns, including a 1955 one for Renaire freezers. The local TV commercial featured a butcher who talked about buying and preparing meat while pitching the value of a freezer.
In the early 1960s, Mr. Rosenberg did ads for the new Lincoln National Bank, promoting "people's hours, not banker's hours." He attracted customers by persuading the bank to offer free checking accounts, a novel idea at the time. When Lincoln Bank reduced its prime rate, Mr. Rosenberg sent a letter to then-President Lyndon B. Johnson and released it to reporters, stating that the bank had told the president it wanted to stimulate the economy.
The ploy resulted in front-page stories in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Rosenberg's success with Lincoln resulted in more banks hiring Yardis. Other clients included clothing and furniture stores, storm-window companies, and UltraPhone, an early cell-phone venture.
Over the years, Mr. Rosenberg handled campaign advertising and public relations for Democratic candidates including Jeanette Reibman, who served in the Pennsylvania state Senate from 1966 to 1994. He told his family that during one primary campaign, she cut a meeting short because she had to go home and make matzo balls for a seder.
He never retired and was still doing public relations for clients from his home, son Mitchel said.
Mr. Rosenberg graduated from Bartram High School in Southwest Philadelphia, where he was editor of the newspaper. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps, editing military newspapers, organizing war bond drives, and producing shows.
In 1946, he and a high school friend, Sidney R. Shlak, decided to start an advertising firm. He was still in his Army uniform when he talked his way into an appointment with his first client, American Lumber Corp. With his $300 discharge pay, he and Shlak bought a used typewriter and desk space and came up with the name Yardis - Sid and Ray spelled backward. Shlak left the firm after two years.
For more than 50 years, Mr. Rosenberg vacationed at Lake George, N.Y., where he introduced his children to camping and waterskiing.
Mr. Rosenberg's marriages to Joyce Oritt and Phyllis Samatz ended in divorce. In 1975, he married Shelby Cohen. For five years the couple published a magazine, SKIP (Schools, Kids, Involved Parents). She died in 2006 in a car accident.
Mr. Rosenberg is survived by sons Anthony, Mitchel, and Gregory; a daughter, Rebecca Soffer; a grandson; his companion, Myrna Gelfand; and his former wife Joyce Hagy.
A funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood, 19096.. Burial will be in Har Jehudah Cemetery, Upper Darby.
Donations may be made to Main Line Reform Temple or wherever else donors wish to honor Mr. Rosenberg.