Chicago’s original madman Joel Raphaelson has died

Joel Raphaelson former head of Ogilvy & Mather Chicago

He played a pivotal role in Chicago’s advertising resurgence in the 1980s when he helped open the office for Ogilvy. We cheered him then, now we mourn his loss. Former advertising exec Joel Raphaelson died of heart failure July 8th in New York City. He was 92.

The announcement, which was broken by Ad Age, was verified by former colleague Ken Roman, who confirmed the cause was heart failure. Raphaelson was a creative head and confidant of founder David Ogilvy, and reportedly coined “Nationwide is on your side” for the insurer.

Ogilvy’s arrival in Chicago, the hometown of goliath Leo Burnett and Foote Cone & Belding, came on the heels of failures by other New York-based advertising firms attempting to take root here. J. Walter Thompson being an exception.

Raphaelson and his colleagues emphasized Ogilvy’s commitment to Chicago with an ad created by Raphaelson, “Thanks for the peach pie, Chicago.”

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Ogilvy counted Sears and Roebuck among its clients when the Chicago office opened in 1976. When it expanded to Midwestern business, it brought in Tribune Co., Schwinn, RC Cola, airplane maker Cessna and introduced NutraSweet for G.D. Searle, according to Bill Whitney, a former president of the office.

Raphaelson was born into a highly creative family. Joel was born on September 27, 1928 in New York City. Son of Samson and Dorothy (Wegman) Raphaelson.

He began his advertising career as a copywriter for Macy’s in 1950. He joined Ogilvy New York three years later.

Raphaelson also led the creative team for Shell, the agency’s most notable account in the 1970s, and was promoted to senior VP of international creative services, before retiring in 1994. He remained a Chicago resident, according to Roman, who wrote a biography of Ogilvy, “The King of Madison Avenue.”

Joel was also a member of Lyric Opera Chicago, Executive Service Corps, Chicago, Art Institute Chicago and Director Santa for the Very Poor.

Respected and loved by his peers, he was also a family man. Raphaelson is survived by his wife, Marikay, a fellow copywriter he met after joining Ogilvy in 1958, and their three children.

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