Former federal director of the Advertising Federation of Australia (now The Communications Council) Bruce Cormack died this week, aged 82.
Taking on the role of federal director in 1979, Cormack served the Australian advertising community until he retired 14 years later. On the back of rumblings at the old Advertising Association of Australia he was seconded from Leo Burnett to put the association back on its feet and within a short period of time had built a strong national support.
An extract from his 1979 Annual Review, typifies his blunt assessment of the state of the nation, “We have seen a full decade of assaults on our ability to do business in a competitive marketplace. The national nanny is not only alive, but growing – frequently sustained by government grants or entities …” He railed against threats to advertising freedoms, agency extraction rates and fair compensation, attrition and loss of experienced people from the industry, and championed training through AdSchool.
Acting in the interest of many members at the time, he argued unsuccessfully for the ‘legal to purchase ‚Äë legal to advertise’ tobacco issue, resisted the growing influence of the consumer movement and postponed any real action on the portrayal of women in advertising.
Cormack later remained active in a more international sphere as the long-time representative of Warc in the Asia-Pacific region. The World Advertising Research Centre, as it was previously known, is the strategic knowledge partner of the World Federation of Advertising, and the association with The Communications Council remains to this day.
Communications Council CEO Margaret Zabel said, “Apart from our on-going partnership with Warc, Cormack was instrumental in unifying the advertising industry and laying the foundations for a strong marketing communications peak body.”
Former AFA federal director Lesley Brydon added, “He was always a complete gentleman, never lost his love for the industry and his desire to stay involved.”