A knack for advertising
Ron Monten, the man who introduced consumers to Air New Zealand and Tegel Chicken, died last month at his home in Napier. He was 79.
His wife, Geraldine Oliver, described him as a brilliantly intuitive man and a master of technology changes in the advertising industry.
“He was the man behind so many images in everyday products that were quite formative in society,” she said.
“He was gifted with intuition for what consumers were looking for before they even knew what they wanted.”
Ron was born in Auckland in 1927 to a sailor father and English immigrant mother.
He was 18 months old when his parents separated and was raised by his mother and grandmother in Manchester, England.
In his early teens, Ron worked for the Air Training Corp taking documents between command posts in the war-torn city.
He won a scholarship to study art at the Royal Salford Technical College and, aged 16, was awarded second prize in a national poster competition for the Air Training Corp.
After trying his hand in his uncle’s engraving business, Ron returned to art school.
He graduated with a diploma in commercial art, illustration and design when he was 18 and considered himself a modernist.
Ron declined a lecturing role at the college, instead becoming junior artist at a Manchester advertising agency.
In 1945 he emigrated to New Zealand with his sister and mother.
Although he enjoyed the Art Deco scene in his father’s home of Napier, Ron struggled to find work. After heaving bales of wool in wool stores, he moved to Wellington and took up a job in screen advertising, working with slides.
Ron moved to Auckland in 1951. There he became known as the “father of advertising”, moving from litho blocks to black and white photography, colour photography, television and finally colour television.
He left the industry in the 1980s, just as computers were becoming the new standard. He is survived by his wife Geraldine and his children from previous partnerships Marguerita Monten, Deborah Johnson, Michael Monten and Alannah Yalden.
Photo caption – IDEAS MAN: Ron Monten