Michael J. Roarty, advertising exec., dies

March 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM
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ST. LOUIS, March 18 (UPI) -- Michael J. Roarty, whose advertising acumen turned him into a minor celebrity in the United States and Ireland, has died, his family said. He was 84.

Roarty died Saturday, the day after suffering a heart attack, his family said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday Roarty was known locally in Detroit as "Mr. Budweiser" in the early 1950s when he had a job selling and promoting beer to neighborhood taverns and stores in the Motor City.

It was a nickname he could keep. Years later, he became the top marketing executive at Anheuser-Busch, where his marketing skills helped the brewer push its U.S. market share from 21 percent to 43 percent.

Roarty was the executive behind nationally familiar advertising campaigns, such as, "Weekends were made for Michelob," and "This Bud's for you," the newspaper said.

He is also credited with initiating the "Know when to say when," campaign that promoted safe drinking. "Perhaps the single most inspired thing Mike did was invest in the future of his industry by addressing the problem of alcohol abuse proactively," DDB Needham Worldwide advertising executive Keith Reinhard says in a video shown on the Advertising Hall of Fame Web site.

Roarty was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1994. Through his work pushing the brewer to expand its presence in sports advertising, including an early commitment to the sports network ESPN, Roarty in 1993 was named the sixth most powerful figure in U.S. sports by The Sporting News.

As the son of Irish immigrants, Roarty maintained an active involvement in the Irish-American community.

Irish American Magazine in 1991 gave him the title of Irish-American of the Year. Three years later, he was the grand marshal in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, an honor bestowed at that time to only three other Americans.

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