“Consistent with the history of the name, “Burson,” we have created a new foundation dedicated to combining Youth Basketball and Education. Many people around the world will be familiar with Harold Burson. This Foundation is dedicated to his accomplishments and the importance of communication in society, education and commerce.”
Prior to the establishment of Burson-Marsteller, co-founders Harold Burson (who today is 90 years old) and William “Bill” Marsteller owned separate agencies, focused on public relations and advertising, respectively. Burson had established Harold Burson Public Relations in 1946 and was based in New York City. Meanwhile, Marsteller had founded the Chicago-based advertising agency Marsteller Gebhardt and Reed (later renamed Marsteller Inc.) in 1951. Burson and Marsteller met in 1952 when Marsteller needed a PR agency to work on an account for his client, Rockwell Manufacturing and was referred to Burson. The two agencies shared the Rockwell account and, later, an account for Clark Engineering Equipment Company. In 1953, they entered into partnership, creating a new public relations firm that was owned jointly by Burson and by Marsteller’s advertising agency.
Beginning with a staff of four and just two main clients, the business quickly grew, and in the early 1960s Burson-Marsteller began to establish a presence outside of the US. In 1960, they opened an office in
Canada becoming the first US PR agency to do so. One year later, in 1961 following the founding of the
Common Market in Europe, the company established its first European office in Geneva, shortly followed by an office in Brussels in 1965. At this time Hill and Knowlton was the only other US PR firm with an office outside the U.S. In 1967, Burson-Marsteller opened its first London office.