Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Herbert D. Gordon Sept. 18, 1938 - May 4, 2013 Ad Executive Shepherded Yellow Pages through Changes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Herbert D. Gordon Sept. 18, 1938 - May 4, 2013 Ad Executive Shepherded Yellow Pages through Changes

Article excerpt

Advertising executive Herbert D. Gordon watched the Yellow Pages industry change and change again, from the advent of the computer to the breakup of Bell Telephone through the rapid growth of directory publishers to the Internet era that followed.

"He was highly respected in the Yellow Pages industry as well as the larger advertising community," said Nancy Augustine, a senior vice president with the Local Search Association, a trade group for Yellow Pages publishers.

"Herb was a wonderful leader and mentor."

Mr. Gordon, of Edgeworth, died Saturday. He was 74.

Born in the suburbs of Boston and a graduate of Tufts University in Medford, Mass., his advertising career began in 1965 as a trainee at Ketchum, MacLeod & Grove, which later became Ketchum Inc., the Pittsburgh-based ad and marketing company. In 1969, he left for Denver, but he returned to Ketchum a few years later.

Back in Pittsburgh, he soon joined Ketchum's executive leadership team, and in the early 1980s, he was put in charge of its fledgling Yellow Pages unit. Under his direction, the unit grew, adding several satellite offices, each of them placing ads for large corporations in the thousands of Yellow Pages directories across the country.

It was a new model -- before the 1980s and the personal computer, selling ads for Yellow Pages directories was a local, labor- intensive job, handled by regional ad salesmen. With nearly 200 publishers and more than 6,000 different directories, placing an ad in each of them was a logistical headache.

"It made it easier for the publishers," Gerald J. Voros, former Ketchum president, said of the new model. "He was the one who made our Yellow Page division really grow," turning it into a $100 million operation, Mr. Voros said.

"He was a major contributor to the growth of Ketchum."

Eventually, Mr. Gordon was named president of Ketchum Specialty Services, which oversaw the Yellow Pages accounts, sales promotion and health care. …

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