Today's Birthday 9/11

John Singleton worked on the late Bob Hawke's successful 1983 election campaign.
John Singleton worked on the late Bob Hawke's successful 1983 election campaign.

Today's Birthday, November 11: John Singleton, Australian advertiser (1941 - )

After over a decade in the radio industry Australian advertising mogul John Singleton has sold his shares in Macquarie Radio as Channel Nine progress with its take over of the company.

The renowned advertising man held a 32 per cent stake in the company, after acquiring shares in the early 2000s.

John Desmond Singleton was born in Sydney in 1941 and attended Fort Street High School in Petersham.

At 17 he started working as a copy boy for an advertising agency in Sydney, sometimes writing ads for his bosses who would get too drunk at the pub of an afternoon.

"Eventually word got round that all those ads for Lux and Kellogs... I'd written them," he told radio presenter Alan Jones in 2015.

By the age of 20 Singleton had been tapped on the shoulder by advertisers Palmer, Strauss and McAllan - founding their own advertising agency called SPASM.

"We wanted to have ownership, because you're the guy writing the songs, your making the world go round," he said.

At SPASM Singleton broke away from the advertising tropes at the time, with Singleton opting to use "ocker" language and accents instead of English and American accents for voice overs.

He and his partners sold SPASM in 1973 to US company DDB. He explained to Jones he was getting sick of being called "yobbo" for his advertising style.

"Rather than put up with it, I just walked away," he said.

He worked as managing director of DDB's Australian operations until 1977.

From there he delved into political advertising, notably working on Bob Hawke's successful 1983 election campaign.

He now owns over fifty Australian marketing and advertising businesses and as of 2019, The Australian Financial Review assessed Singleton's net worth as A$670 million.

But 'Singo' hasn't coasted from success to success, his love life has been particularly tumultuous.

A renowned romantic Singleton has had six marriages and eight kids, dating back to the 1950s with his first wife Margaret.

Australian Associated Press