Ned Doyle, 86; Co-Founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach Ad Firm

Ned Doyle, one of the three founders of the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc., the firm that said Avis tried harder, stuffed 7-foot-2 Wilt Chamberlain into a Volkswagen and made Sara Lee and Monsanto friends of the family, died Sunday.

Doyle, who retired from the agency in 1969 when it had grown to be the nation’s eighth largest, was 86 when he died at his home in New York City.

Doyle was a law student at Fordham who sold magazine space for $75 a week while he attended school during the day.

“In those days,” he explained in an interview years ago, “after you passed the Bar you went to work in a law office for $10 a week. I was making $75 a week selling space. I couldn’t afford to quit.”


By the early 1930s, he had become a manager of Cosmopolitan magazine and then moved to Look as its first advertising director when that now-defunct magazine started in 1936. There he met a young man named Maxwell Dane working in the Promotion Department.

Doyle later went to Good Housekeeping magazine and then served in the Marine Corps when World War II broke out.

After the war, he joined Grey Advertising and became friendly with the agency’s creative director, Bill Bernbach. In 1949, he and Bernbach went out on their own and invited Dane to join them.

Doyle, who played football in high school and college, was a passionate sports fan. In 1967 he made an offer of $11.5 million for the New York Jets. The offer was refused, but in 1970 he bought the Miami Floridians, a basketball team with the worst record in the old American Basketball Assn. He owned it for two years.

Doyle is survived by three children and four grandchildren.