Frank Goldberg

27 November 2012

Frank Goldberg set up Goldberg Advertising in New Zealand after World War I and expanded into Australia in 1927. He moved his headquarters to Sydney and set up a Melbourne office.

He was widely referred to as a buccaneer but generally thought of as a pirate after the way he acquired new business. He was fond of telling his staff to “attack with a double-barrelled sword”.

According to Keith Cousins, Goldberg was “a legend reputed to have won and lost every account in Australia”.

In the '40s it also was said that if you hadn't worked at Goldbergs you hadn't worked in advertising. His efforts to secure an international whisky account are evidence of his entrepreneurialism. When it became known that this potential client would be arriving by ship in Sydney, the sharks were waiting. Hugh Berry of the agency Berry-Currie, organised a limousine to collect the client from the wharf. Another agency chief, Claude Willmott, went one better and hired a boat to meet the ship as it entered Sydney Harbour.

Both were trumped by Goldberg, however, who had joined the ship at Fremantle and signed up the client on the high seas well before reaching Sydney. “His heyday was in the 1930s,” said Cousins, “when he built his business by going against every agreement the agencies ever made to protect their profits”.

By WWII he was more respectable and played an important role at the War Effort Publicity Board. “Advertising today can can no longer be regarded as a purely commercial entity,” he said at the time,“but rather as a department of the much wider essentially modern science of propaganda.” Another new business opportunity, no doubt.

Goldberg retired in the 1950s and the agency was eventually to the US multinational Masius in 1968.