2011 Silver Medal Award Reception and Luncheon
The CAF Silver Medal Award honors a distinguished member of the Chicago advertising community for his/her contributions and accomplishments.
"CAF is thrilled to honor Ron Bess as this year's Silver Medal recipient," said Anne Rago, Managing Director Business Development, Novus, Silver Medal Co-Chair. "Ron has strong passion, commitment and vision for the Chicago ad community. Ron is a key supporter of the Off the Street Club and he has helped create a stronger link between the CAF and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) to more fully unite the Chicago ad community."
Help celebrate Ron Bess at the CAF Silver Medal Luncheon!
Originally scheduled for January 20, CAF is pleased to announce that the Silver Medal Reception and Luncheon has been rescheduled for March 23, 2012!
About Ron Bess
As President of Euro RSCG North America, Bess is responsible for the agency’s overall business performance. And as CEO of Euro RSCG Chicago, he has led the most significant turnaround in the agency’s history. When Bess was recruited to join Euro in 2004, he took charge of the agency’s realignment. Within two years he created its unified business model in Chicago, with all disciplines under one roof and one management team. He believes this cohesive collaboration is crucial for agencies to do great work and be successful in today’s rapidly changing business environment.
Additionally, he believes in a simple operating philosophy for any new challenge or opportunity: Face it. Figure it out. Fix it.
Bess began his career in the 1970s at Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago. After three years, he joined Needham, Harper & Steers (now DDB), where he was promoted in less than a year to account director for all McDonalds advertising. While at Needham, Bess also started the agency’s relationship with Anheuser-Busch, leading the agency team that introduced Budweiser Light and then over the next two years changed the name to Bud Light and repositioned the brand to take down Miller Lite. Bud Light went on to become the largest-selling brand in the world – with a long run of breakthrough advertising leading the way.
With two creative partners, Bess next purchased the Chicago office of Backer & Spielvogel, renamed Bayer Bess Vanderwarker a year later. The business began with brands that included Cap’n Crunch cereal and Gatorade, the latter of which Bess helped grow from a $200 million regional niche brand to a multibillion-dollar new category called sports drinks. The growth was fueled by “Gatorade Is Thirst Aid” positioning and creative that had America wanting to “Be Like Mike.” In 1996, BBV was purchased by True North Communications and merged into Foote, Cone & Belding, and Bess was named president of FCB Chicago. Under Bess’s leadership, the agency grew from $600 million to $1 billion – the largest revenue increase in the agency’s 125-year history – and was named Adweek’s Midwest Agency of the Year in 1996. Bess subsequently was promoted to president of FCB Worldwide and installed on the board of directors of True North.
Bess then moved to New York to head Young & Rubicam’s Diversified Communications Group, which included PR giant Burson Marsteller, branding leader Lander and all of Y&R’s other non-advertising companies. After two years of 10 percent growth in the Diversified Group, Bess was named CEO of the company’s flagship New York office to stop the dramatic decline in clients and revenue that office had experienced since losing 10 clients and one-third of its revenue in the previous two years. During the year and a half he held that position, the office made budget every quarter, suffered no more losses and won the Burger King business. Bess left Y&R to revive Euro’s Chicago agency and assume responsibility for half the companies Euro owned in North America.
Bess lives in Chicago and enjoys time with family, Broadway theater and college football and basketball. As Chairman of the Chicago board of the 4As, he’s also helping lead an effort to attract talent to and enhance the reputation of Chicago’s creative community. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’s a board member of the Off the Street Club, the James Webb Young Foundation and the Advertising Education Foundation (AEF). He’s also a member of the Economic Club and the Executives’ Club of Chicago.