Remembering Norm Levy
Published January 27, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
On Christmas Day, 2022, we lost Norm Levy. He meant so much to so many. For me, he made you feel privileged to be at Procter & Gamble–the absolutely best place you could be. What follows is a note from PGAN Chairman Ed Tazzia as well as brief remembrances from those who knew him.
Jack McFadden, Co-chair Communications, BS&HCP, Class of 1971.
While we can’t do special articles about all the alumni that we lose, Norman, along with his colleague Gibby Carey, were recipients of our highest alumni honor in 2007, the McElroy Award. That award is given in recognition of significant contributions to the art and science of satisfying the consumer whether that is the result of a single event or concept or the compilation of a lifetime of achievements. In Norm’s case, it was a lifetime achievement award.
Together with Gibby, Norm created what was called the Copy Services Department. It grew out of a belief that advertising could be studied and that P&G could increase its competitive advantage by understanding what made “Advertising That Works.” Through Copy College, Norm helped to train generations of P&G marketers. He taught us not only how to get better advertising, but also how to treat our advertising agency partners to get their best work.
Years later, fellow alum Kip Knight and I sought out Norm to be a part of a “faculty” that utilized the format of Copy College to develop a marketing and communication workshop for the US State Department. Norm was a critical part of that group that worked to help the people charged with communicating US foreign policy understand the key elements of effective communication.
As good a marketer as Norm was, he was an even better man. Whether you were a senior executive or a wet-behind-the-ears Brand Assistant, Norm had time for you and made you feel special.
I knew Norman for nearly fifty years and, like many of you who benefited from his wisdom, I will miss him.
Ed Tazzia, Chairman, PGAN
Norm was a remarkable person on so many levels. He always made time to help whenever called upon, and whenever he saw that someone needed help. I remember when he spent time with me as a young Brand Manager, teaching me about effective advertising. I still carry those lessons and now, teach them to others.
Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble
I had the pleasure of attending many of Norm’s advertising/copy seminars while climbing the brand management ranks in P&G Mexico and P&G Italy. Norm’s many anecdotes and uniquely witty presentation style helped bring his valuable content and learning to live. Norm’s spirit certainly lives on in generations of P&G Advertising personnel, including many alums around the world.
Deb Kielty, Board Chairman, P&G Alumni Foundation
One of the greatest advertising–and brand building–minds in P&G’s rich legacy of great leaders. And always with a wink and a smile. I loved how excited he got about a new idea or insight. He could not hold it in.
Jim Stengel, former GMO, Procter & Gamble
Norm was a force of nature. He taught so many Benton & Bowles kids about what advertising was all about and strengthened the bonds between P&G and the agency. Frankly, he could also be an occasional pain in the ass, but always for the right reasons.
Arty Selkowitz, Advertising Agency Executive
Norm made a contribution to my recognition of how I needed to lead that was indelible.
It happened over 35 years ago, passing in the hall. It was a tough time in our U.S. business and evidently, I was showing it. What he said to me was simple: “John, you ought to smile more!” That brought me up straight. That got my attention. I had not realized that my appearance was conveying that I was discouraged but apparently it had been. That was ironic because, while the business situation was serious, I had the utmost confidence we would succeed.
What Norm told me that day in no more than 30 seconds affected how I tried to present myself; not pretending to be different than I was, but putting a genuine, positive face on it that I felt internally.
John Pepper, former CEO, Procter & Gamble
Photo from Tim Love, Friend of P&G