Printer Friendly


 NEW YORK, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Sam B. Vitt, one of the most influential figures in the field of advertising media in the past two decades, today announced his retirement as chairman and chief executive officer of Vitt Media International, Inc., the independent media buying company he founded 22 years ago.
 Vitt, 65, who will remain as VMI Chairman Emeritus for his lifetime, is succeeded by Roy A. Muro. (See accompanying biography).
 Vitt's retirement ends one of the most spectacular and dynamic media careers in advertising history. Already a legend in his field, Vitt, who in known to many in the industry as "Mr. Media," is arguably the dominating figure in advertising media affairs during the last two decades. During his 40-year advertising media career, Vitt had the good fortune to work with some of the giants of the industry, including Ted Bates, founder and chairman of Ted Bates & Co.; Milton Biow, founder and CEO of the Biow Company; and Bob Jacoby, former CEO of Ted Bates, who was labeled the "hundred million dollar man," the amount he earned when he sold Bates to Saatchi & Saatchi.
 Since its founding in October 1969, Vitt Media International has grown to become one of the leading independent advertising media service companies. Last year the company reported billings of $488 million.
 Major companies that VMI has worked for include Dow Chemical, J.C. Penney, Colgate, Ralston Purina, Singer, Monsanto, Mattel, Carnation, GE, Uniroyal, and ITT-Continental Baking. VMI has also worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Defense and the Advertising Council. VMI's media buying work has also included political campaigns, from the presidential level on down, with the most recent being Lowell Weicker's history-making win as governor of Connecticut.
 Among Vitt's seminal achievements, he was:
 -- Pivotal in moving congress to approve paid broadcast advertising by the Department of Defense for its various military services' recruitment efforts.
 -- Instrumental in television's implementing the 30-second commercial announcement.
 -- A leading pioneer in the revolutionary new independent media service field.
 -- Recognized for his accelerating Broadway shows' movement from newspapers to television as their primary advertising medium.
 -- An early advocate and played a dominant role in the use of independent TV stations, as opposed to network affiliated stations, and is widely credited as one of the vital thrusts propelling independents to their present eminence.
 -- Most recently involved in narrowing the statistical error margin of the 1990 U.S. Census, work which extended VMI's Census involvement from its early works in the 1980 U.S. Census.
 Born in Greensboro, N.C., Sam Vitt grew up in New Jersey and later attended Dartmouth College where he graduated in 1950 with a B.A. in English. His first job was at CBS Television in New York City, where he started in the mailroom and quickly worked his way up to an executive assistant position.
 In the 1950s, Vitt worked as broadcast media buyer for Benton & Bowles, the Biow Company, and Doherty, Clifford, Steers & Shenfield, Inc. (DCS&S). In 1964 Vitt joined Ted Bates & Co. to help consolidate the merger of its own media and program departments, work which he pioneered at DCS&S. While at Ted Bates, Vitt created the Colgate Spot Broadcast Buying Unit, which helped establish the 30-second spot as a standard buying unit for television advertising.
 During his tenure at Ted Bates, Vitt was asked to prepare a report explaining how the agency planed media spending. Vitt's report became famous in the industry after Otto Kleppner, author of the world's best- selling advertising textbook, "Advertising Procedures," proclaimed it the finest he had ever read on media planning and included it in another of his books, "Exploring Advertising." Vitt's report is now considered a media classic.
 In 1969, Vitt left a senior position at Ted Bates to form Vitt Media International, an independent media buying and planning service company with headquarters in Manhattan.
 Its purpose was to aid agency economics by taking the costly media function off their hands and providing them more effective and efficient buying through the use of senior-level professionals for media jobs traditionally left to entry-level personnel.
 Vitt saw that most ad agencies devoted their greatest talent and energy toward creating ads and acquiring new accounts. Media buying was treated as an afterthought, usually handled by junior-level personnel. He also felt that the standard 15 percent agency commission, which dates back to 1913, was an outmoded concept that limited the industry's growth potential. He hoped to aid in correcting both these flaws. The Sheehan Report, a highly regarded trade press member, endorsed his move, with comments such as "VMI must emerge as the outstanding media facility in advertising," and "Vitt is a man recognized by clients and peers alike as the most astute media mind in the business."
 The concept behind VMI was to assemble under one roof a team of senior-level media buyers who, working with the latest research and planning tools, could negotiate the best possible media buys for advertisers. Instead of a set percentage commission, VMI's media buyers were compensated relative to the amount they saved their clients.
 While VMI's innovative approach to media buying has rankled some in the advertising business, Vitt has convincingly demonstrated in 22 years that the independent media service is here to stay. "Advertising's classic economic commission system isn't working and it is increasingly clear to a growing number that it will never work. Agencies are in a profit squeeze that is caused largely by the fact that the commission system demeans professionalism and invites clients to nickel-and-dime their agencies. Further, advertisers are experiencing mounting pressure to become more cost conscious and must get more for their advertising dollar. Independent media services permit them to do this," Vitt said.
 Vitt was an early advocate of the use of independent TV stations in media buys. While at DCS&S in the mid-1960s, Vitt landed a choice assignment from Bristol-Myers when he successfully demonstrated to Bristol-Myers that placing all its brands on a New York independent station and rotating them through various commercial positions would result in more frequency and greater efficiency than the conventional approach of using network stations.
 A former media columnist for Madison Avenue magazine from 1963 to 1968 and a contributing writer to several important advertising textbooks, Vitt has garnered numerous industry awards including the prestigious Station Representatives Association Gold Key Award for Advertising Leadership.
 Vitt also excelled outside his industry, serving as a director of the United Nations Association, thus joining other directors Shirley Temple Black, Norman Cousins and Henry Ford II. Vitt also served as a member of President Reagan's Joint Presidential Congressional Steering Committee in 1982.
 Vitt is a resident of Larchmont, N.Y., where he and his wife, Marie, a former well-known Broadway musical actress and recent chairman of New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center's board of governors, have lived for nearly 30 years. They have a daughter, Joanne, and two sons, Michael and Mark.
 Despite the downturn in the nation's economy and its adverse impact on the advertising business, Vitt leaves VMI in a position of strength. "VMI is one of the few companies anywhere of any size that has no debt," he said. "VMI is also one of the few independent media services that has a Dun & Bradstreet rating, and its rating is the highest that can be achieved in its grouping," he added.
 Does Vitt think with his retirement an era has ended? "Not at all," laughs Vitt. "I feel exciting things are just beginning. It is my total conviction that advertising and its media are of supreme importance, especially now, to our country and to our world. Anyone coming into this business now can do so, as far as I can determine - to use the words of one great writer - with a sense of enormous expectations, the sense that one's life is important, that great achievements are within one's capacity, and that great things lie ahead.'"
 As for Vitt's own plans, his first priority is to serve as best man for his second son's upcoming wedding, just as he did for his first son more than four years ago. Next, he and his wife of 36 years have scheduled a Mediterranean cruise. Then they are looking forward to their daughter's graduation from the Culinary Institute of America. After that, he only knows that: "I have a sense of enormous expectations...and that great things lie ahead."
 Roy A. Muro, who succeeds Sam B. Vitt as chairman and chief executive officer of Vitt Media International, is a 20-year veteran of VMI. Muro presently serves as VMI's president and chief operating officer. He will retain these titles but is expected to pass them on when he announces from VMI's current executives a new president and chief operating officer before the end of the year.
 Muro, 49, joined VMI in 1971 as comptroller and was named president and chief operating officer in 1982. Born in New York City, Muro graduated with a B.S. degree from Brooklyn College and an MBA degree from New York Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining VMI, Muro, a Certified Public Accountant, was a senior accountant with Price Waterhouse & Co. in New York.
 "VMI was founded on the concept of providing advertisers and agencies with an economically viable alternative to the traditional agency commission compensation system. For 22 years it has done so, and in the process VMI not only made advertising history but is also made a profit every single year. I am confident that under the proven leadership of Roy Muro, VMI will continue to remain at the cutting edge of our industry," said Vitt.
 "To follow in the footsteps of a Sam Vitt is an awesome challenge. Sam is a rarity in business today - a true visionary with the courage and conviction to pursue his dream and succeed. It is for me, at one and the same time, a sensation of humility and gratefulness to have been selected as his successor. I pledge to continue forward to expanding achievements and profitable growth," said Muro.
 Muro is a resident of East Brunswick, N.J., where he lives with his wife and two children.
 -0- 11/13/91
 /CONTACT: Dean Bender of Thompson & Bender, 914-747-2888, for Vitt Media International/ CO: Vitt Media International Inc. ST: New York IN: ADV SU: PER SH-OS -- NY021 -- 3909 11/13/91 11:43 EST
COPYRIGHT 1991 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 13, 1991

Related Articles
World's Largest Independent Media Services Company Created from Merger of Western International Media and Initiative Media Worldwide.
Starz Encore Announces Three Promotions Within Its Research and Analysis Department.
Aspects of reproduction in the southeastern five-lined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus): new data and a review. (Short Communication).
Focus on Pet Dental Care in February - National Pet Dental Health Month.
Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity.
Adult financial education programs can yield big rewards.
Horry Telephone Cooperative broadcasts Beach Ball Classic.
Global warming threatens existence of tropical species.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters