Howard T. Boasberg built a career and two agencies proving that national public relations could be successfully accomplished from Kansas City. In addition to tried-and-true public relations strategies, “Howie” insists upon creative, out-of-the-box thinking. His companies brainstormed on a regular basis to create a constant exchange of ideas among employees, all to ensure the best possible solutions for clients’ public relations needs.
In 2004, Boasberg began a second career as the executive director of the Advertising Icon Museum (www.advertisingiconmuseum.org). The largest known collection of figural advertising icons in the world, he is working to collect, preserve, document and exhibit iconic figures as a fun educational opportunity for all ages. He is overseeing the construction of the museum’s state-of-the-art 12,000-square-foot home as part of The West Edge (www.thewestedge.com), scheduled to open in 2008. He was instrumental in securing the Advertising Icon Museum as the permanent home of the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame and has personally met with hundreds of companies and agencies responsible for America’s favorite icons.
Boasberg has become recognized throughout the United States as an expert on advertising icons of both the past and present, and how they represent social and cultural mores through the decades. He has been quoted in Advertising Age, Antique Week, The Boston Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, The Orlando Sentinel, Screen and on the front page of The Washington Times.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Boasberg graduated from the University of Michigan in 1956 on a Big 10 Journalism Scholarship with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history. He soon began his advertising career with Bowman and Block Advertising in Buffalo. A year later, he moved to Kansas City where he joined the Biddle Advertising Agency.
After eight years with Biddle, Boasberg joined Bob Bernstein and Skip Rein to form Bernstein-Rein & Boasberg, where he was the director of client service and public relations. With his partners at BRB, he was responsible for many successful campaigns.
With 17 years experience at BRB, Boasberg set out on his own to direct his experience and efforts to what he enjoyed most — the evolving profession of public relations. In 1981, he formed The Boasberg Company. It grew to become one of the 50 largest independent public relations agencies in the United States with an impressive roster of clients that would be the envy of any East Coast PR firm. Spanning the fields of health care, consumer packaged goods, business-to-business and financial relations, they included H&R Block, Hoechst Marion Roussel (formerly Marion Merrel Dow), Glaxo Wellcome, Pfizer, Pizza Hut, Sprint, Hallmark, Microsoft, Ralston Purina, ConAgra and many more.
One of Boasberg’s most memorable campaigns was bringing back the “Breck Girl,” the famous symbol of Breck Hair Care Products, in 1987. He also achieved a public relations dream when his firm launched a line of Combat Pest Control Products by “debugging” the U.S. Capitol in 1985.
In November 1990, The Boasberg Company was acquired by Valentine Radford Communications and became Boasberg Valentine Radford. Boasberg was chairman and CEO of BVR until he retired from the company in October 1995 and became chairman emeritus.
In his spare time, Boasberg serves on the board of directors for the FBI’s Citizens Academy, of which he is a graduate; has been a mentor in the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program since its inception; and volunteers as a mental health advocate working with the Jackson County Mental Health Court, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and teaching Crisis Intervention Training to law enforcement officers. He and his wife, Judith, have three sons and four grandchildren.