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Trend-Setting Ad Exec For Vodka Dies At 102

Milton Goodman, an advertising executive whose “It leaves you breathless” campaign for Smirnoff vodka in the 1950s helped transform America’s taste in alcoholic beverages, died Oct. 5 after a long illness. He was 102.

In the early 1950s, when Goodman was president of the Lawrence C. Gumbinner Agency, the firm landed an account to do advertising for Smirnoff vodka, a product of Heublein Co.

At the time, vodka consumption in the United States was minuscule. But through a series of small ads in newspapers and magazines over the following six years, each emphasizing vodka’s ability to be mixed, as well as its colorless, odorless and tasteless properties, sales soared, to $250 million by 1956.