salzberg ronaldRonald Salzberg

Class of 1957

Inducted 2005

Ron Salzberg’s career as a copywriter has taken him from the gilded offices of some of the nation’s largest advertising agencies to the New Mexico pueblos of Santa Ana and Taos. In pursuit of creating campaigns for a wide range of clients, he has traveled to exotic Club Med Villages in Mexico, the Bahamas and Haiti, as well as locations in Paris, Rome, St. Moritz, Hollywood, Montana, Florida, and New Jersey.

During his career he has been an award-winning copywriter, copy chief, associate creative director, creative director and executive creative director, He has been a vice-president, senior vice-president and executive vice-president but says he has never been given the title he always wanted: King. Still, the ad agencies he worked for were some of the most regal in the business, including BBD&O, N.W. Ayer, and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Salzberg was employed by N.W. Ayer in the 1980s, when he helped create the advertising for AT&T’s “Reach Out and Touch Someone” campaign. He wrote more than 50 commercials during his eight years as a creative director on the AT&T account. Other blue chip accounts for which he created advertising include British Airways, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and R.J. Reynolds. His work over the years has earned him many national awards, as well as Best of Show awards from the New Mexico Advertising Federation. He was with BBD&O in the late 1970s when he won a Clio for a campaign on behalf of Wrigley Doublemint Gum.

Salzberg was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 4, 1935, and attended Thomas Jefferson High School. At City College, he joined the staff of The Campus, where he was a sportswriter, a columnist and editor-in-chief. After graduating with a B.A. in English, he went to work as a reporter for the New Haven (Conn.) Journal Courier before embarking on a career in advertising.

salzberg ronald directing film

Ron Salzberg (center), directing one of his films.

After working and living in New York all his life, Salzberg moved to Albuquerque, N.M., in 1995, expecting to taper off from full-time work by joining Rick Johnson and Company, a local ad agency. Instead, he became executive creative director and conceived long-running campaigns for the New Mexico Department of Tourism and other leading companies throughout the state and the Southwest. He also mentored the agency’s younger members. Since arriving in New Mexico, he has done public service work for United Blood Services and his campaigns have helped raise millions of dollars for the United Way. He also taught advertising at the University of New Mexico and at the Southwest University of Visual Arts. For a chance of pace, Salzberg began making short films and won a national scriptwriting competition in 2002.

One of the more memorable moments in his long career involved a set of commercials with then President Bill Clinton at the White House. In 1993, while working for Saatchi & Saatchi, he collaborated on five public service announcements on criminal violence and its effect on America’s children, a project that earned him a Justice Department Commendation. The White House liked the spots and approved a request to film Clinton for a new series of commercials. It all went very smoothly and they did three commercials in only nine takes. In a 1994 piece for Ad Age magazine, Salzberg recalled the day it happened. His article began: “When you’re going to make a commercial featuring the President of the U.S., you learn one thing very quickly: Never, never say, ‘We’re here to shoot the President.’”