Thomas McClure, 75, direct marketing executive

Thomas R. McClure
Thomas R. McClure
Posted: August 22, 2014

Thomas R. McClure, 75, of Malvern, a retired executive who started the McClure Group direct marketing firm in his bedroom and turned the business into one of the nation's top-earning direct marketing agencies, died Friday of brain cancer while traveling en route to hospice care at Neighborhood Health Inpatient Hospice in West Chester.

Mr. McClure and his firm were the TV production team behind commercials featuring an elderly woman who had fallen and couldn't get up, and former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil touting the virtues of Independence Blue Cross health insurance.

For more than 10 years, the Valley Forge-based company helped develop a series of direct marketing campaigns that used celebrity spokesmen, snappy tag lines, and printed materials to make a sale.

Brand recognition and award-worthy commercials weren't the point, said Ernie Trecroci, chief creative officer at the McClure Group for 10 years.

"It was about getting people to take a specific action that produced lots of money," Trecroci said.

The McClure Group developed radio and TV spots, and direct-mail materials for companies that included Colonial Penn insurance, MCI telecommunications, and Advanta.

Born in Lodi, Ohio, Mr. McClure began his career in direct marketing after he served as a clerk in the Army and earned a bachelor's degree in business from Ohio University.

He met his former wife, Susan Ottaviano Burke, during his Army stint, which was in Philadelphia. The couple married in the mid-1960s and later divorced.

Mr. McClure married Cynthia Cipriano in 1982.

Mr. McClure was working as a copywriter for National Liberty Marketing Inc. when he decided to start his own firm. He founded the McClure Group in 1983.

Ten years later, Mr. McClure was named direct marketer of the year by the Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association. He sold the firm in 1995, and the company became DMW Worldwide, now in Wayne. Mr. McClure continued to work for the company and retired in 1999.

In addition to his wife, Mr. McClure is survived by sons Christopher and Matthew; daughters Jacqueline and Amanda; and two grandchildren.

A viewing will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at D'Anjolell Memorial Home, 392 Lancaster Ave., Frazer. A Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at St. Patrick Church, 104 Channing Ave., Malvern. Burial is at Philadelphia Memorial Park, Frazer.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1626 Locust St., Philadelphia 19103.


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