Jim Albright, a longtime advertising copywriter and one of the original “Mad Men” from the ‘60s, died Saturday in Denton, Texas. He was 77.
As a creative for Tracy Locke, Albright is best remembered for launching – along with Art Director, Ron McQuien – the landmark Doritos campaign that ran for 12 years starting in the 1970s. It starred Avery Schreiber and made the Doritos Frito-Lays brand the number one product in its category.
There’s not a snack lover alive who hasn’t been touched by one of Albright’s many contributions to the American pop culture landscape he loved so much. His most lasting contribution, perhaps, may be Funyuns, which he named himself. (He claimed the original name he came up with, “OnYums”, was already taken).
Before getting into advertising, Albright practiced law for two years. He was a copywriter, broadcast producer, creative chief and group head at several agencies, including Tracy Locke, Bloom in Dallas and McCann-Erickson.
Dr. Albright, or “Jim” as he preferred to be called, was published in ADWEEK and many other industry publications. In 1993, he also wrote a textbook, Creating the Advertising Message, which he taught in his classrooms for many years.
In the early ‘80s, Jim fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a college professor. He became an associate professor in the media department at Southern Methodist University before teaching advertising and journalism at the University of Missouri. For the past couple of decades, he’d been teaching as a tenured professor at the University of North Texas.
He was highly popular among his students, many of whom considered him a beacon of idealism in a world where competition and ambition seemed to trump all else. He had a reputation for reminding everyone – students, colleagues, friends and his own children – to slow down, take it easy and, most importantly, “love what you must do.” He followed that advice for years in all his endeavors, except when it came to faculty meetings, which he absolutely hated.
He loved teaching, his friends, the Texas Rangers, and his family very much, but his version of heaven was sitting alone in his favorite chair at home in front of his giant television, reading a Western, petting his beloved cat Jane, while every single television and radio in the house blared at full volume.
Jim was always amused when people would tease him about his many (failed) marriages, because, after all, they produced seven children who love him very, very much and will miss him terribly.
Funeral service will be Friday, July 6, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel of DeBerry Funeral Directors. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park. Pallbearers include Jim Albright Jr., Adam Albright-Hanna, Lucky Albright, Ron McQuien, Dr. Roy Busby, and Koji Fuse.
He is survived by his sister Cheryl Teeter, Ducky Albright, his children Jim Jr., Becca, Rachel, Naida, Kate, Adam, Lucky, and his grandchildren, Dominik, Jonas, Rachel, Walker, Sarah, Coleman, Declan, Sully and Gabriel.