NETfacts: Business

Frank Buckley, Industry Icon, Passes Away at 94

A CHP Canada board member for almost four decades, including two terms as Chair, Frank Buckley was easily the most recognizable face in the consumer health products industry. Appearing in broadcast, print and outdoor advertisements, Mr. Buckley made “It tastes awful. And it works.” into an iconic advertising slogan that took Buckley’s Mixture from a two per cent share to No. 1 status in the cough syrup category by the early 1990’s. Mr. Buckley sold his company to Novartis in 2002.

Mr. Buckley’s droll deadpan in the TV advertisements seemed so practiced that many ad agency focus group participants believed him to be a fictional character played by an actor. But that was the real Frank. As a board member, Mr. Buckley could be counted on for two things; a dry, playful sense of humour and an endless supply of razor-sharp questions for staff, especially at budget time. Along with his two terms as Chair, he also led the planning for 12th General Assembly of the World Self-Medication Industry (then known as the World Federation of Proprietary Medicine Manufacturers), held in Toronto in 1996, as part of the association’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Mr. Buckley was the first person made an honorary lifetime member of CHP Canada.

He was also highly accomplished outside the consumer health products industry. Upon graduation from the University of Toronto in 1942, Mr. Buckley became a fighter pilot with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in the Pacific Theatre, where he was credited with downing an enemy bomber. He joined his father’s company W.K. Buckley after the war, taking over as President in 1978. During this time he also co-founded the Council on Drug Abuse and was an active leader with the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, The Metropolitan Toronto Social Planning Council and Catholic Family Services. For his many accomplishments, Mr. Buckley was named to the Order of Canada in 2003.