Richard K. Manoff
Class of 1934
Richard K. Manoff carved out a successful career as an advertising executive specializing in food products, then took it to another and broader level as someone who developed social marketing programs aimed at providing better care — including better nutrition — for underprivileged communities throughout the world.
As president of Manoff International, a pioneering social marketing firm that evolved out of his eponymous ad agency, Manoff taught and lectured at leading universities. He published widely in the area of nutrition education, family planning and public health, with particular emphasis on communications strategies and the application of marketing techniques for their implementation.
For the Advertising Council, Manoff directed a National Family Planning campaign in conjunction with Planned Parenthood/World Population. He advised the Agency for International Development on nutrition education in Latin America, Asia and Africa. In the 1970s, the Manoff Group’s Buena Madre project in Bolivia used mothers’ clubs and radio to promote the use of iodized salt. Promotional materials were developed in different languages for different parts of the country. Use of iodized salt increased significantly. Manoff also initiated a nutrition education program for New Mexico's Indian and Spanish-speaking population, and he was a special adviser to UNICEF in its marketing program for breast-milk substitutes.
Manoff received the Global Award for Media Excellence for acting as a technical consultant for the family planning program in Bangladesh in 1985. It was presented by the Population Institute in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. A year later, the College awarded him its Townsend Harris Medal.
Manoff was born in Brooklyn on June 24, 1916. Following his years at City College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1937 and an M.S. in 1940, he worked for the War Manpower Commission as an assistant regional director from 1942 to 1945. As World War II ended, he joined Welsh Grape Juice as marketing director, remaining there until 1953, when he was hired by Kenyon & Eckhardt Advertising as a vice president. In 1956, he founded his own agency, Richard K. Manoff Inc. With clients like Kraft, Welch Foods, Castle & Cooke, National Car Rental System, American Cyanamid and Cargill, it became one of the leading marketing and advertising agencies in the U.S. Manoff first became involved in public health and nutrition activities in 1965, when he served in the U.S. delegation to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. Following a U.S. Agency for International Development mission on nutrition education to India in 1967, he formed Manoff International — which became the Manoff Group in 1988 — to handle continuing assignments in Ecuador, the Philippines, Nicaragua, and other Third World nations. He was involved in similar activities in the U.S. for the Office of Economic Opportunity and on behalf of the first national family planning campaign in the U.S. Manoff International's services have been employed by USAID, the World Bank, the U.N. and the Ford Foundation, among others.
Manoff was an adjunct professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Boston University’s Sargent College of Allied Health Professionals and an adjunct lecturer in public health at Columbia University’s Physicians and Surgeons School of Medicine.
In 1985, Manoff published “Social Marketing: New Imperative for Public Health,” a comprehensive resource on social marketing — from theory and background to the tools and techniques for applying that discipline in public health programs. His second book was “Fidel Is Dead!: A Novel of the Cuban Aftermath,” published in 2005.
He died on Sept. 7, 2013 at the age of 97.