The Most Unforgettable Marketing Character

Marketing Matters Newsletter


An occasional column featuring advice, lessons learned and professional experiences of today’s AMA members

The Most Unforgettable Marketing Character I've Ever Met

Ron Strauss
AMA Member and Chair, Brand Strategy and Brand Management SIG
Founder and CEO, Brandzone, LLC
Co-author of "Value Creation: The Power of Brand Equity”
"Your brand should work as hard as you do."

          “I met (one) of my most unforgettable characters during a graduate-level seminar course I was taking at Cornell many, many years ago. The guest speaker was a marketing  executive from the town of Ithaca. His name was Howard Cogan.

          After the seminar, I went up to ask Howard to ask a question and, right then and there, he offered me a job at his small ad agency. I hadn't really considered advertising as a field, but never one to ignore the path of least resistance, I eventually agreed. I spent the next 12 months at his firm. The time was eventful. I've spent the last 35 years in marketing thanks to Howard.

          Howard was a larger than life person. He had a big, baritone voice that he used to good effect during his radio shows and when he served as an announcer on radio commercials. During this time, he taught me that advertising was just a conversation between good friends and that good ad copy should be natural and conversational.  He instructed me not to draw attention to the advertising technique, but keep the spotlight on the benefits of the product or service being offered--. especially emotive, emotional benefits. It was good advice.

         Years later, Howard and his son became the first father-son duo to get their MBA at the same time in the history of Cornell University. It was quite an accomplishment. Howard continued to run a successful marketing business, and gave generations of students at Ithaca College insight into advertising and marketing. Howard is credited with a line for the local tourist business "Ithaca is gorges." 

        Howard recently passed away in Ithaca NY. He's missed.


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