Savan was ad exec, teacher and mentor


Sidney A. Savan, a major figure in the St. Louis advertising community, a longtime teacher at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a past president of the St. Louis Council of the Jewish National Fund, among other activities, died Tuesday, Aug. 14, of congestive heart failure at Delmar Gardens West in Chesterfield. He was 78 and a former resident of St. Louis County.

Sidney Arthur Savan was born on Oct. 30, 1928 in Springfield, Mo. He was brought up in St. Louis, where he graduated from Soldan High School. In 1949, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor of science degree in advertising.

A longtime advertising executive, Mr. Savan served as an advertising consultant with Clayton Davis & Associates advertising firm in the 1950s. In 1958, he opened his first advertising agency in St. Louis, and in 1972, he formed the Savan Company advertising agency. One of his successful accounts was Community Federal Savings and Loan Co., throughout Missouri, which led to his handling numerous savings and loan ad accounts from New York to Hawaii. He was also a member of the Haymakers, the Savings Institutions Marketing Society of America.

Mr. Savan was known for adding amusing touches to his ads, including spots for Central Hardware, which included the enduring line, “We’ve got it all from scoop to nuts.” He also used humor to enhance ads for Dierbergs, Kretschmar Ham, Mark Twain Banks and Wehrenberg Theaters. He developed an ad for Van Dyke, a small brewery called, “In the Land of the Giants,” which juxtaposed the small family owned brewery against giants like Anheuser-Busch.

Mr. Savan was a longtime member of the Advertising Club of St. Louis.

In 1999, he was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also won several Marconi Awards for his radio advertisements.

He retired from the ad business in 1988, and taught advertising, public relations and political campaigning at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Many of his former students fondly recall the value of his classes and personal mentoring skills. He retired from teaching in 2004.

Mr. Savan handled media campaigns for numerous political candidates, including Sen. Stuart Symington, Reps. Jim Symington and Bob Young, and St. Louis Mayor Alphonso Cervantes.

Mr. Savan was an active member of the Jewish community of St. Louis, and offered his consultations to the St. Louis Jewish Light and its advertising committee over the years. He served as president of the St. Louis Council of the Jewish National Fund, and was active in the Jewish Federation, the St. Louis Holocaust Museum, the Jewish Community Center’s Sustainers program and B’nai B’rith.

Mr. Savan was married to the former Barbara Sumner Leslie, a local artist. The couple reared four children. A son, Glenn Savan, was the author of the best-selling novel White Palace; he died in 2003.

Funeral services were held last Friday at Berger Memorial Chapel, 4714 McPherson Avenue. Burial was at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, 7500 Olive Boulevard.

In addition to his wife, among the survivors are a daughter, Leslie Savan of South Orange, N.J.; two sons, Eric Leslie of Ballwin and Joe Leslie of Denver; a sister, Gertrude Miller of Austin, Texas and two grandchildren.

Memorial contributions preferred to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, or the charity of your choice.