A True New York Story

The late 1980s marked the beginning of a new era of advertising in New York. Young writers, art directors and account executives were ditching creatively-constraining jobs at the classic Madison Avenue shops to strike out on their own. Virtually overnight, young brash creative agencies were obliterating boundaries and rewriting the advertising playbook.

Leading this creative revolution was DeVito/Verdi, founded by two born-and-bred New Yorkers, Sal DeVito and Ellis Verdi. (PHOTO OF BOTH) One from Brooklyn, the other from the Upper West Side. Products of the New York City public school system and schooled in the life lessons of growing up in the city, the marriage that became DeVito/Verdi soon gave birth to some of the most creative advertising – often brazen and controversial, but always truth-bearing – the industry has ever witnessed.

Defined by an unmistakable New York “voice” and attitude, the agency’s creative product reflected the grit, honesty, humor, and cynicism of the city.

The fledgling agency got its first bite at the apple, so to speak, when the South Street Seaport (SHOW AD) docked its account with the agency. (Hmmm. Does pitching New Yorkers on visiting a NYC landmark that is overwhelmingly frequented by tourists sound familiar??)

From there, clients, awards, headlines and accolades poured in to help tell the DeVito/Verdi story. (SMATTERING OF HEADLINES OF WINNING AWARDS, LANDING CLIENTS) New York brands and companies soon found the one agency that spoke directly to New Yorkers. One that knew who to poke, (GIULIANI) how we lived, (TIME OUT NY OR 7 ELEVEN)and how we survived every day. (SOLGAR AD, PENCIL) It also knew that jaded New Yorkers needed a reality check and a lesson in value(s) from time to time. (DAFFY’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE)