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About Us

History

About Us

History

Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller joined forces in 1953 to form Burson-Marsteller — one of the original innovative leaders in strategic, integrated approaches to communications, a force for change in public relations, marketing and other ways to reach key audiences. We have remained a leader ever since. See our rich history reflected in our storied milestones.

Burson-Marsteller Founded
Burson-Marsteller Founded
Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller establish Burson-Marsteller on March 1, 1953. The new jointly-owned Burson-Marsteller and its sister agencies – Marsteller Advertising and Marsteller Research – are the first firms to offer what becomes known as integrated communications. Click here to read more about our heritage and founding.
March 1953
Burson-Marsteller Founded
March 1953
Global Expansion
Global Expansion
Burson-Marsteller opens its first overseas office in Geneva, Switzerland to serve the newly-formed European Common Market; a second European office opened in Brussels in 1965. Burson-Marsteller is also the first public relations firm in Europe with offices capable of working in a dozen languages and providing a pan-European service.
February 1961
Global Expansion
February 1961
First Overseas Acquisition
First Overseas Acquisition
Burson-Marsteller makes its first overseas acquisition when it acquires C.S. Services in London.
1966
First Overseas Acquisition
1966
First Crisis Training Session
First Crisis Training Session
Burson-Marsteller is the first public relations firm to conduct a crisis training for client Owens-Corning Fiberglass. Burson-Marsteller goes on to win a PRSA Silver Anvil for its Bad Day at Black Rock program in 1969.
1968
First Crisis Training Session
1968
Asia
Asia
Burson-Marsteller establishes a presence in Asia, opening offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo.
1973
Asia
1973
Public Affairs
Public Affairs
Burson-Marsteller announces the establishment of its Public Affairs Practice.
1974
Public Affairs
1974
Latin America
Latin America
Burson-Marsteller opens its first office in Latin America in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1976
Latin America
1976
Healthcare Practice
Healthcare Practice
Burson-Marsteller establishes a healthcare specialty, becoming the first public relations firm to do so. At first, it mainly serves manufacturers of ethical prescription drugs. It works with the FDA to establish guidelines for providing consumers an increased amount of information about drugs prescribed by their physicians.
1979
Healthcare Practice
1979
Y&R
Y&R
Young & Rubicam acquires Burson-Marsteller.
October 1979
Y&R
October 1979
AT&T Olympic Torch Relay, Los Angeles Summer Games
AT&T Olympic Torch Relay, Los Angeles Summer Games
Burson-Marsteller works on the 1984 AT&T Olympic Torch Relay, which consists of an 82-day, 9,100 mile route through 33 states and the District of Columbia. The firm organizes, stages and publicizes the passage of the Olympic flame from Greece across the United States to the site of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
1984
AT&T Olympic Torch Relay, Los Angeles Summer Games
1984
China
China
Burson-Marsteller signs an exclusive cooperation agreement with China Global Public Relations Company, a subsidiary of Xinhua News Agency and the first public relations company in China.
August 1985
China
August 1985
Seoul Summer Olympics
Seoul Summer Olympics
Burson-Marsteller is the first public relations firm employed by an Olympic organizing committee to serve as its on-site advisers to plan and implement an Olympic Games, the Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea in 1988.
1988
Seoul Summer Olympics
1988
Groundbreaking Work
Groundbreaking Work
From 1990 to 1993, Burson-Marsteller works with the Government of Mexico on a campaign for the U.S. Congress approval of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
1990
Groundbreaking Work
1990
Groundbreaking Work
Groundbreaking Work
Burson-Marsteller helps Sun Microsystems launch Java, the first independent programming language.
1995
Groundbreaking Work
1995
Direct Impact
Direct Impact
Burson-Marsteller acquires Direct Impact. Direct Impact is a leading grassroots advocacy firm that manages communications campaigns on behalf of some of the world’s largest corporations and trade associations.
April 1999
Direct Impact
April 1999
Century’s Most Influential PR Figure
Century’s Most Influential PR Figure
PRWeek selects Harold Burson as the “century's most influential PR figure.”
October 1999
Century’s Most Influential PR Figure
October 1999
WPP
WPP
Young & Rubicam Brands merges with WPP, and Burson-Marsteller joins the WPP family.
September 2000
WPP
September 2000
Groundbreaking Work
Groundbreaking Work
Burson-Marsteller works with Hong Kong to develop a new location brand platform, visual identity and communications program following its transition from British to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997.
2001
Groundbreaking Work
2001
50th Anniversary
50th Anniversary
In 2003, Burson-Marsteller celebrates its 50th anniversary.
March 2003
50th Anniversary
March 2003
Genesis Burson-Marsteller
Genesis Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller acquires Genesis Public Relations, India's leading public relations company, known today as Genesis Burson-Marsteller.
December 2005
Genesis Burson-Marsteller
December 2005
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller merges with ASDA’A, the leading public relations company in the Middle East, creating ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and a regional network covering all major markets in the Middle East.
May 2008
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
May 2008
Proof Integrated Communications
Proof Integrated Communications
Burson-Marsteller and Penn Schoen Berland launch Proof Integrated Communications, an advertising and integrated communications agency. Proof IC was formed as a merger of Burson-Marsteller’s Marsteller advertising division and PSB’s advertising unit, PSBcreative.
June 2009
Proof Integrated Communications
June 2009
Cannes Lions
Cannes Lions
Burson-Marsteller wins its first two Cannes Lions for its “2 Minute Silence” campaign for the Royal British Legion.
June 2011
Cannes Lions
June 2011
Arcay Burson-Marsteller
Arcay Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller acquires Arcay Communications, a leading South African consultancy with headquarters in Johannesburg and an extensive affiliate network across Africa, covering more than 50 countries throughout the continent.
October 2011
Arcay Burson-Marsteller
October 2011
Donald A. Baer Named CEO
Donald A. Baer Named CEO
Donald A. Baer is named Worldwide Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller.
July 2012
Donald A. Baer Named CEO
July 2012
60th Anniversary
60th Anniversary
Burson-Marsteller celebrates its 60th anniversary.
March 2013
60th Anniversary
March 2013
NASDAQ bell ringing
NASDAQ bell ringing
Burson-Marsteller Worldwide Chair and Chief Executive Officer Don Baer, Founding Chairman Harold Burson and some Burson-Marsteller employees rang the opening NASDAQ bell in Times Square in celebration of our 60th anniversary.
March 2013
NASDAQ bell ringing
March 2013
Burson-Marsteller, Being More
Burson-Marsteller, Being More
On October 14, 2013, Burson-Marsteller celebrated its 60th anniversary by launching a new global positioning: Burson-Marsteller, Being More. Burson-Marsteller, Being More is an expression of the firm’s ambition to be the leading ideas-driven, results-oriented communications firm in the world alongside its long-standing commitment to evidence-based communications.
October 2013
Burson-Marsteller, Being More
October 2013
StudioB
StudioB
Burson-Marsteller announced the U.S. launch of StudioB, a fully integrated, real-time, data-driven center of creativity, content production and distribution. StudioB combines the firm’s proprietary data analytics and leading Web data tools, opinion polling and research capabilities with full-service creative and production capabilities to coordinate and scale the most creative, data-driven content with distribution across all traditional, digital and social media channels.
April 2015
StudioB
April 2015
Cuba Specialty Team
Cuba Specialty Team
Burson-Marsteller, launched the Burson-Marsteller Cuba Specialty Team, a new US-based offering that provides clients with strategic counsel on the political and economic environments in both the U.S. and Cuba, as well as advice and guidance in planning for and communicating effectively about eventual Cuba market entry.
July 2015
Cuba Specialty Team
July 2015