In Memory of




Obituary for Nicholas William Wedge

Nicholas Wedge, awitty, erudite copywriter and advertising executive who created memorable ad campaigns for The New
York Times, the Financial Times, and other clients, died on December 1, 2021 at his home in Ossining, New York.
He was 91.

In a six-decade career at BBDO in New York and London, D’Arcy
McManus, Geer DuBois, Royd’s Advertising Group in London,
and his own agency, Janic Productions, he created print, radio and
television ads for airlines (AirFrance, American Airlines, Delta,
Lufthansa, SwissAir), beverage makers and importers (Pepsi,
Glenfiddich, Allied Brewing in the UK, Dubonnet, Frangelico,
Sherry-Lehmann, Guinness Stout), cars (Saab, Fiat, Mercedes-
Benz), computers, corporate clients (IBM, Texaco UK), financial
institutions (Dun & Bradstreet, East New York Savings, Hudson
Valley Bank, Marine Midland Bank), publishers (The Times, FT,
Gazeta Mercantil in Brazil, Rod & Gun Magazine), and myriad
consumer goods and services (Binaca breath spray, Foster Grant,
Wisk, floor polish, Victor Mouse traps, soap, General Tire, silver
polish, Lightolier, the Yellow Pages, and more).

His work for The New York Times included an iconic collaboration
with Tomi Ungerer during the newspaper circulation wars of the
1960s, in which his slogan, “An adult finds out in The New York
Times,” was paired with several startling Ungerer images.
In one, a hand reaches out to pull off a clown’s green mask, only
to reveal a green-faced man behind it. In another, a man pries the
red-white-and-blue top hat off Uncle Sam’s head to peer inside his
skull. Other slogans in the series included “You can tell the adults
by the paper they read” and “If you’re not behind The Times,
you’re behind the times.” The series was honored in the Art
Directors Club 1965 and 1966 Annual of Advertising & Editorial Art
& Design.

Nick also worked with many other illustrators who found fame as
artists. With Ronald Searle, he created Binaca Breath Spray ads at
D’Arcy McManus, featuring antic figures in close quarters (opera
singers, a barber and his customer) and the slogan “When you’re
coming on strong, make sure your breath isn’t.” The campaign
won a Clio award in 1973.

When the Financial Times, famously printed
on salmon-pink paper since 1893, began
publishing in New York, Nick’s 1995 kickoff
ad placed the headline in the sky above
a skyscraper topped with a satellite dish:
“From out of the blue comes ‘the pink.’ ”
Other ads for the FT featured real
financial mavens: the pseudonymous
author Adam Smith; then chairman of the
Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan;
and investment banker Felix Rohatyn,
pictured with a line from Virgil: “Felix qui
potuit rerum cognoscere causas.” (Happy
is he who can know the cause of things.)
Nick’s love of wordplay often led him to
co-opt other languages in his ads. When
The Rug Company launched a collection
of Alexander McQueen rugs in 1971,
Nick’s only text was “Carpet diem.” To
acknowledge Texaco UK as a corporate sponsor of the
Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England, Nick created a road sign
pointing to Mozart, Strauss, Rossini, and Prokofief as destinations,
with this caption: “We get you there, con brio.”
He was born May 31, 1930 in New York to William Guille Wedge,
a New York Sun sportswriter who covered every World Series from
1923 to 1949 and who served as the first librarian for the Baseball
Hall of Fame, and Sonia Wedge (née Rosoff), a librarian at the New
York Globe, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the New York Botanical

Garden. Nick sometimes
accompanied his father on
assignments and remembered
watching the SS Normandie
burn and sink at the Hudson
River pier where it was being
converted to a troopship in
1942 and seeing the Empire
State Building after it was
struck by a B-25 bomber in
1945. In the 1930s Nick’s
father often took him to the
Yankees’ spring training in St.
Petersburg, Florida, where he
was introduced to the likes of
Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Gomez and Babe Ruth.
Nick grew up in the Bronx, graduated from the Bronx High
School of Science in 1948, received a BA from Columbia in 1952,
was hired by BBDO that same year and in 1960 became a vice
president. In 1966 he relocated his family to London and worked
as creative director of the agency’s UK office. The move awakened
the Anglophile in him. He returned in 1971 to conduct an
interview with Prince Philip that was published in Sports Afield, and
in 1985 became executive creative director, as well as a board
member, of Royd’s Advertising Group, living in London for a time
and then shuttling between the UK and his suburban New York
office. Together with his wife Janet as writer and editor, he
designed and published a travel newsletter, London Outlook, from
1984 through 1991.

Among his memorable UK ads were long-running campaigns for
Goddard’s Silver Polish while at BBDO, and Texaco UK while at
Royd’s. To win attention for a household product, Nick gave it
lifestyle spin with an ad featuring a silver mini-dress, designed in
Paris from sterling disks handcrafted in London’s jewelry district,
with the slogan, “A sterling achievement.” Well-known from print
ads and TV spots, the dress had a long afterlife in haute-couture
displays at numerous London department stores. His work for
Texaco UK focused on the public-service activities in print and
television ads using the tagline, “Texaco: The Driving Force.”
In the ’90s Nick shifted from creating ads to profiling celebrities
living in suburban New York and Connecticut for such
publications as Bedford Magazine and Ridgefield Magazine. His
subjects included Theodore Sorensen, an adviser and speechwriter
for President John F. Kennedy; cartoonist Roz Chast; actress Zoe
Caldwell; financier George Soros; soprano Renata Scotto;
photographer Slim Aarons; Sex and the City author Candace
Bushnell; Richard Dearlove, onetime head of MI-6 who had been
an exchange student at The Kent School in Connecticut, and
dozens of others. Pursuing his interests in spycraft and World War
II, Nick also wrote profiles for The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S.
Intelligence Studies, published by the Association of Former
Intelligence Officers.
A voracious reader with many interests, Nick built a collection of
Arthur Rackham signed limited editions as well as books illustrated
by Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielsen. He also collected London
maps, paintings, graphic art, and work by his many collaborators.

He is survived by his wife Janet of 69 years, a historian, author,
and teacher; two daughters, Cathy and Liz, and a son, Will; three
granddaughters, and a great grandson.