Bill Zimmerman is one of the nation’s most experienced political media consultants. In the 1980’s, he specialized in candidate races, creating advertising for U.S. Senate races in California, Colorado and Pennsylvania, gubernatorial races in Florida, Arizona and New Mexico, Congressional races in Illinois, Maryland and Connecticut, and mayoral races in New York and Chicago. His successful clients included Sen. Tim Wirth, Sen. Gary Hart, Gov. Toney Anaya, Mayor Harold Washington and Reps. Lane Evans and Sam Gejdenson.
In 1988, Bill shifted his focus to ballot initiatives, providing both advertising services and campaign management. That year, he managed the campaign on behalf of California’s Proposition 103, which won despite opposition expenditures of $99 million. The initiative established the state’s first rate regulation for automobile insurance, and created the new statewide office of Insurance Commissioner. A national consumer group estimated that Prop 103 saved ratepayers over $60 billion in its first 20 years of enforcement.
Since then Zimmerman & Markman has won historic initiative victories, including passage of the nation’s first physician-assisted suicide law in Oregon in 1994 and the nation’s first medical marijuana law in California in 1996. Between 1996 and 2008, working with the Drug Policy Alliance, Bill managed 17 ballot initiatives in 10 states that attempted to reform various aspects of our nation’s failed drug laws. Thirteen of the 17 were victorious.
In 2000, Bill managed California’s successful Proposition 36 campaign providing treatment instead of incarceration for many nonviolent drug possession offenders. Since then, 35,000 offenders are diverted from jail annually, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions per year. In 2004, Bill managed California’s Proposition 63, which created a 1% surtax on income over $1 million and uses the resulting annual revenues of $1 billion for community mental health programs benefiting the homeless and at-risk school children.
Between 2002 and 2008, Bill was a strategic communications consultant to MoveOn.org. Zimmerman & Markman created MoveOn.org’s initial advertising against the war in Iraq. In 2004, Bill managed MoveOn.org’s $23 million campaign to defeat George Bush, while Zimmerman & Markman created virtually all of the advertising used in that effort. In 2006, Bill coordinated the “Caught Red-Handed” advertising campaign produced by MoveOn.org that helped Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.
Bill Zimmerman earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and briefly taught there and at Brooklyn College. As an antiwar activist in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, he helped lead the Indochina Peace Campaign and Medical Aid for Indochina. In 1973, he organized the airlift of food that broke the FBI siege at Wounded Knee, which was occupied by the American Indian Movement. He is the author of Troublemaker: A Memoir from the Front Lines of the Sixties (Doubleday, 2011), which chronicles that activism, and The Student Loan Swindle: Why It Happened, Who Is To Blame, How The Victims Can Be Saved (2014), an e-book available in all the usual formats. Bill has written two other books and numerous magazine articles and newspaper op-ed pieces on politics, elections, and foreign and public policy. He was the founder and Chairman (1981-1993) of Medical Aid for El Salvador, an international humanitarian relief organization. Bill has won CLIO and Pollie Awards for his political advertising.
For twenty years, Pacy Markman was one of the leading commercial advertising copywriters in America. Starting in his 20’s, Pacy worked for five years as the top creative on the Coca Cola account at McCann Erickson in New York. Later he served as Creative Director at Wells Rich Greene, and still later he held the same position at Doyle Dane Bernbach, considered at the time to be the most creative advertising agency in America.
During this career, Pacy created extraordinary TV spots for Alka Seltzer, Procter and Gamble, Midas Muffler, Ralston Purina, Sea World, Columbia Pictures, Jack in the Box, Gallo Wine, and dozens of other national clients. Pacy created the advertising campaign that launched Miller Lite beer and wrote the line, “Everything you always wanted in a beer...and less.” It was one of the most successful new product launches in history. Over the course of his exceptional career, Pacy won a remarkable 16 CLIO Awards, advertising’s equivalent of the Oscar.
In addition to his accomplishments in advertising, Pacy is an outstanding comedy writer. In periodic breaks from the advertising world, Pacy wrote comedy for television. He first wrote for Norman Lear’s TV comedy “Fernwood 2Nite,” and later spent three years as a joke writer on The Bob Hope Show. His facility with comedy helps Zimmerman & Markman create negative advertising that is actually likeable.
While still in commercial advertising, Pacy involved himself in politics and environmental activism. In the 1970’s, he used a public service campaign to get New Yorkers to put their garbage in garbage bags. He beat back the nation’s first statewide anti-gay ballot initiative, California Proposition 6 in 1978. He was the Creative Director for the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990. He rewrote the lyrics to the song, Yakety Yak, and created an award-winning music video on recycling starring BB King, Steve Wonder, Charlie Daniels, Randy Newman and Natalie Cole, among others. His work for candidates included being Dianne Feinstein’s media consultant in her first winning campaign as Mayor of San Francisco. He has written speeches for Rep. Pat Schroeder of Colorado, Vice President Walter Mondale, and others.
In 1990, Pacy left commercial advertising to become Zimmerman & Markman’s creative director. He is widely credited for the passage of the nation’s first physician-assisted suicide law, Oregon’s Measure 16, which passed in 1994. His advertising in Arizona was responsible for the 51% victory that established state funding of elections there in 1998. He created an award-winning series of TV spots on gun violence that was largely responsible for the passage of California’s progressive gun legislation. He created advertising on early childhood education, healthy nutrition, and physical exercise used with great success by groups around the country. In 2002, he got Americans to ask themselves, “What Would Jesus Drive?”
Between 2003 and 2007, Pacy created virtually all of the advertising sponsored by MoveOn.org. In 2006, Pacy created MoveOn.org’s “Caught Red-Handed” campaign that helped achieve Democrat control of the House of Representatives. Pacy is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. He holds a Masters degree in pure mathematics from the University of Rochester. Before starting in advertising, he was a research mathematician at Cape Canaveral, and later the Physical Sciences Editor of the unabridged Random House dictionary.