14 Sep 2015

Recognition of Leadership: Lawrence Rinck

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Today, we finally get around to making something official. We are adding Lawrence Rinck to the website for his contributions to Rinck Advertising. His title will be “Inspiration Officer.” Because he has inspired so many in our industry.

Larry was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1921, making him 94 as of this writing. He held several amazingly cool positions in Cinci. He was a “Correspondent” for the Gruen Watch company (and still has an original Autowind somewhere and maybe a Curvex, worth a small fortune), where he wrote and answered consumer letters and sometimes had to go out to the front of the shop to deal with folks who came in with watches that wouldn’t work.

He then moved on to the Bavarian Brewing Company as Marketing Manager. I would have thought that was a dream job, but dad had bigger dreams.

In 1962, he took a job at the Sperry & Hutchinson Company in New York City, better known as S&H Green Stamps. Heading out a few weeks early, he bought a house in suburbia Allendale, New Jersey. Mom had never seen it. I was 3. We upped and moved our small world to a far bigger world.

For those that don’t know, trading stamps really dominated marketing for many decades. You got stamps when you bought food at the grocer, gas at the station. Saturday nights, people pasted the stamps into books and saved them to redeem for valuable merchandise. Redemption centers were located in every town. You could redeem for small appliances or really major purchases. Many of my most memorable presents were from S&H, including a beloved Christmas mini-bike.

Dad was a major player in the national ad game, rising to V.P Advertising for S&H Green Stamps. He had a $10M+ national budget when that was very, very real money. He knew all the major players during the creative revolution on Madison Ave. His agency was SSC&B and several of his account executives rose to very prominent roles in that organization, including Chairman. He was a client who was also a mentor.

Dad has lots of stories to tell of those days. And in the telling, the one thing that always comes across was the ethics he brought to his role. In a business where ethics can be fairly flexible, he was rock solid. A few decades ago, I ran into Jerry Della Famina, ad legend, founder of Della Famina, Travisano & Partners, author of a pretty hysterical book (From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Pearl Harbor, a pitch they used for Sony I think. The original Wild Man Shop.). I introduced myself as Larry’s son. He paused a moment and said, “Never could squeeze that account. Your dad is a great man. Tell him I said hi.”

Dad guided S&H Marketing through its heyday, when everyone collected stamps, and then through the Oil Crisis of 1972 when gas stations stopped using incentives. He brought the incentive innovation to car rentals and later moved to Minnesota to service the National Car account directly.

Larry and Rosemary left conservative Cincinnati to head to wild New York with their son at time of significant change in American society. It still amazes me.

Dad was a mentor to me. “You’re an actor, a writer, a musician. You should be in advertising.” I wanted to be a classical DJ and did NOT want to do what dad suggested. But in the end, he was right.

Over the 14 years Laura and I have had the agency, I look back at the many, many influences and mentors I have worked with over the years. Of all of them, I think of Larry as the one I look to for how it should be. Open, honest, transparent, fair.

Dad was an original Mad Man. That show brings back memories and in many ways, honors the giants.

And I finally got this photo. So he joins us today on our website, a true Madison Avenue Man. Where he should have been all along as the original Rinck in Rinck Advertising.