Sidney Galanty made TV ads that helped Rep. Lloyd Doggett win a Senate primary in Texas, elect first the African American mayor of Chicago and close down a degraded nuclear power plant in California.
"Most of us Democrats thought a campaign was about educating the voters. Sid convinced me campaigning is about telling the story to get voters to come to your side,” says Bob Mulholland, a long-time Democratic strategist in California. "He was able to look at the polls, the demographics and come up with great ads."
Still, Galanty’s background wasn’t in campaign politics but rather advertising and television, where he made his mark as the co-creator and producer of the “Jane Fonda Workout” home video series.
"He was just darn good with the camera,” says Mulholland.
Born in 1932 in Newark, N.J., Galanty and his wife Joan moved to Los Angeles in 1966. He went on to have stints in the Kennedy administration, and with the international ad agency Dancer, Fitzgerald & Sample, as well as the campaigns of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and a long list of presidential candidates, members of Congress, governors and other elected officials.
In the 1984 Texas Senate primary, Galanty helped produce a spot titled “The Butler,” which said Rep. Kent Hance, Doggett’s Democratic opponent, “isn't a congressman, he's a butler” for a well-heeled master.
At the time, Galanty was a partner in Zimmerman, Galanty & Fiman, where he worked from 1980 to 1986. The year before Doggett’s primary, Galanty worked on Harold Washington’s campaign in Chicago. During that race, his firm produced two ads -- “Pledge" and “Shame," which are credited with helping Washington win the 1983 mayoral race.
A post-election poll “clearly indicated that absent both spots, especially ‘Shame,’ which was the more memorable, Washington would have narrowly lost,” Bill Zimmerman and Marilyn Katz wrote recently in C&E.
In 1987, Galanty and his son Mark formed Galanty & Company, Inc., where they worked together for over 26 years. In 1989, the firm produced ads the convinced a majority of voters to support the closure of the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station near Sacramento. "He brought to [advertising] not only the political sense but a great vision from a communications point of view,” says Mark Galanty.
During the last few years of his life, he was in a wheel chair, but Mark Galanty still brought him to the set of advertising shoots.
"Work was his life,” says Mark Galanty. “He loved to work."
During his career, Galanty was actively involved with helping to pass initiatives in California including the Coastal Act, the First Tobacco Tax, the protection of California’s Redwoods, California Farm Works protections and Tribal-State Gaming Compacts
In recent years, he expanded his work internationally, consulting in Great Britain, Lithuania, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Russia. He continued his dedication to the electoral process, helping developing democracies in Eastern Europe with independent communications, media and broadcasting.
A member of the Directors Guild of America, Galanty was singled out for prestigious awards such as CLIO, Billboard, Pollie, the London International Advertising Award, and the Cannes Film Festival Award.
Galanty passed away on Oct. 5 at his home in the Pacific Palisades. He was 81. He’s survived by his children Mark and Beth, as well as six grandchildren, Liam, Matthew, Evan, Jack, Melissa and Emma.