George Smith, one of the pioneers of the UK direct marketing industry and a man described by the late Derek Holder as a true legend, has passed away.
In a career that spanned over 40 years, Smith pioneered many of the direct marketing techniques now taken for granted and is acknowledged as a world expert on fundraising in particular.
He started his working life as a production assistant for the Amalgamated Dental Company, working on Oral Topics magazine, and in a print and production role for ad agency London Press Exchange and then ad agency Butterfield.
This agency was then bought by Ayer, with Smith heading up ABAyer Direct, although it was folded when the parent group pulled out of the UK market.
He formed Smith Bundy in 1973 – with Jeremy Bundy, who had also been at AB Direct, and Carol Trickey – and served as its chief executive for 20 years.
During those years, he specialised in charity marketing, although also worked on commercial marketing brands. In 1990, he was awarded the UK’s DMA Gold Award for work on Greenpeace.
Between 1987 and 1993 he was additionally chief executive of the International Fund Raising Group, as well as a director of Burnett Associates.
When he became only the third direct marketer ever to be honoured with an IDM Lifetime Achievement award, Derek Holder said: “George is one of direct marketing’s legends. I and many others have been privileged to have been mentored and inspired by him. Not only does he have an immense knowledge of the subject, but he is an outstanding ambassador for the profession. His oratory skills are legendary.”
Industry pays tribute to visionary Holder