J. Walter Thompson Company (part 2)

Founded in 1864 as the Carlton and Smith Agency, the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) grew to become one of the largest advertising agencies in the world and the first to develop a global footprint. Widely considered the flagship American advertising agency for most of the 20th century, JWT was a pioneer and innovator credited with the development and expansion of print, radio and television advertising; an early advocate of trademark and brand management; and famed for its attention to market research and demographic lifestyle trends. JWT's advertisements helped to turn a number of its clients' products into cultural icons: Kodak, Ford, RCA; Oscar Mayer; Kraft; the U.S. Marine Corps and many others.

This site features a timeline of JWT's 150-year history that highlights key personnel; long-standing client relationships; office openings and technical achievements and innovations. It includes a more in-depth overview of materials from the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives housed within the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke's Rubenstein Library, along with links and brief descriptions of the agency's collections available for research.

Timeline created by Rick Collier.

View Part 1 of the timeline

Administrative History

1930 Jan 01
JWT and Television
A landmark in both television broadcasting and advertising history, 1930.

In 1930, JWT produced the first commercial television broadcast, a variety show sponsored by Libby, McNeil & Libby that aired on WMAQ in Chicago. Television programming remained intermittent until after World War II. JWT also created commercials to run in motion picture theaters beginning in 1937. In 1946, JWT produced two of the regularly scheduled weekly programs, the variety show Hour Glass (for Standard Brands) and the dramatic series Kraft Television Theatre, for which JWT produced the first live commercials in 1953. JWT established its Television Workshop in 1953 and added color capability in 1955. JWT produced and aired the first color-taped television commercial, for Lux soap, in 1958. The late 1960s saw JWT develop a spot-buying network. JWT was active in investigating cable television throughout the 1970s, in advance of media deregulation and the cable boom of the 1980s.


Television workshop, 1950s.
 Television Department organization, 1950s.
Set up for a television shoot, 1950s.
TV Department in Sao Paulo, 1959

Where the TV Sets Are Research Publication, 1953.
1931 Jan 01 – 1960 Dec 31
Shell Oil Company account
Futurist Norman Bel Geddes predicted dedicated traffic lanes for pedestrians and cars in the

JWT originally managed the Shell account through its San Francisco office. In 1930 the Shell Petroleum account was won by the Chicago Office, and the following year the New York Office acquired the Shell Eastern account. Notable campaigns include "Dry Gas" (1928) referring to Shell's fomulation that produced less residue than other brands; testimonials from chauffeurs (1929-); an "Anti-Knock" campaign to launch Super-Shell Ethyl gasoline; "3-Energy Gasoline"; "Quick-Starting" (1933); "Super-Charged" (1934). Beginning in 1935, JWT coined the term "stop and go" to reflect research that showed 80% of all U.S. driving occurred within 25 miles of home, and th subsequent campaign featured cartoons from notable artists such as William Steig and J. Carver Pusey. During the late 1930s, Shell advertising took on the style of news features and a futuristic "City of Tomorrow" campaign with Norman Bel Geddes. In 1960, Shell moved its petroleum products advertising to Ogilvy & Mather, while JWT retained the account for Shell Chemical.


Shell gasoline, 1950s.
Illustration by surrealist Boris Artzybasheff, 1950s.
1931 Jan 01 – 1980 Dec 31
Parker Pen account
Parker Pen advertisement, 1951.

JWT represented Parker Pen off and on for over 50 years: in 1931; from 1941-1955; and from 1968 into the 1980s. Product launches include the Quink (Quick-drying ink pen) in 1931; the Parker 51, 1941-1942; the Superchrome, 1947; Systemark pen line, 1975; and a limited edition, numbered Bicentennial Pen that contained a wood chip from Independence Hall. In 1980 domestic advertising responsibilities were transferred to Stephan & Brady agency while JWT retained the international advertising account.


Parker Systemark Pen, 1975.
The Parker 75 American History Pen was promoted for the bicentenial and featured an inlay of wood from Independence Hall.
1933 Jan 01 – 1963 Dec 31
Weco Products account
This 1959 JWT Newsletter features an article on WECO wools.

Dr. West's toothbrushes were introduced in 1921 and featured several innovations that later became the basic template for all modern toothbrushes: plastic handles, synthetic bristles that were tapered, a small curved brush head. JWT advertising and promotion emphasized these innovations and helped position Dr. West as the leading brand of toothbrush, commanding a nearly 50% market share by the 1950s. JWT was also active in the design of packaging and point of sale displays (store windows, sales counters and cabinets), creation of a line of toothbrushes for children, development of what is considered to be the first sales quota system in the drug business, and co-sponsorship with the American Dental Association of the first nationwide survey on toothbrush use. A Business Extenstion Department report called JWT's work on the account a "unique example of a long and close client-agency relationship...examples of actual agency participation at the planning and policy level."


Dr. West Toothbrushes, 1920s or 1930s.
A later ad for Dr. West Toothbrushes.
1934 Jan 01 – 1963 Dec 31
Bowman Dairy account
In 1947, JWT chose to feature a Bowman Dairy ad as its Campaign of the Week.

Founded in 1891, the Bowman Dairy Company was one of the Chicago area's largest dairies during the first half of the 20th century. They were acquired by Dean Milk Co. in 1966.


Bowman Dairy newsletter article, 1957.
1934 Jan 01 – 1971 Dec 31
Safeway Stores account
Safeway Stores as JWT's Campaign of the Week, 1949.

Early campaigns included the slogan "distribution without waste" and a publication, the Safeway Farm Reporter, which ran from the 1930s to 1950. JWT also produced advertising for several Safeway brands: Brown Derby Beer, Lucerne Milk, Brentwood Eggs, and Manor House poultry products.


Safeway Stores, 1952.
1934 Jan 01 – 1982 Dec 31
Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company account
Schlitz Beer, 1968.

JWT and Schlitz were associated off and on for nearly 50 years. The association goes back to 1934, but from 1935-1955 JWT represented Ballantine. JWT regained the Schlitz account in 1956 and kept it until 1961 when the account transferred to Leo Burnett, which lost the account back to JWT in 1978. Benton & Bowles was awarded the Schlitz Malt Liquor account. Notable JWT campaigns include "Move Up to Quality--Move Up to Schlitz" (1958); "Beer Makes It Good--Schlitz Makes It Great"; "Go For It!" (1979). A 1979 joint sweepstakes promotion with the National Bowling Council, entitled "Strike It Rich," won widespread acclaim, and JWT's efforts in 1980-1981, including a live beer taste test that ran during the NFL playoff season, won advertising Age's award for Best Overall Media Plan. When Stroh Brewing acquired the Schlitz brand in 1982 and demanded an agency review, JWT resigned in protest.


Schlitz Beer, 1980.
Schlitz's First Draf Pick campaign, 1981.
Schlitz parterned with the NFL for this 1981 campaign.
1935 Jan 01 – 1968 Dec 31
U.S. Playing Card Company account
Congress Playing Cards, 1937.

JWT's Cincinnati Office had sought the USPCC account beginning in 1916, but negotiations faltered over JWT's refusal to produce speculative work, a position that formed the basis of Stanley Resor's business philosophy and ethic. Correspondence resumed in 1927 and continued for seven years before JWT was awarded the account toward the end of 1934. The Cincinnati Office managed the account until 1937 when it was transferred to the New York Office. Campaigns included promotion of the game of Pinochle (1935), specific promotions of Congress and Bicycle brand cards, and a series to help civil defense teams spot enemy aircraft during World War II. As television became more popular in the 1950s, advertising to re-emphasize card-playing as an enjoyable social activity.


Bicycle Playing Cards, 1942.
JWT Newsletter article featuring campaigns from Congress and Bicycle Play Cards, 1955.
Po-ke-no, a card-based board game, became a popular family pastime in the 1960s.
Bicycle Playing Cards, 1960s.

1936 Jan 01 – 1969 Dec 31
United States Lines account
US Lines advertisement, 1967

JWT was responsible for advertising, publicity and public relations for U.S. Lines. advertising challenges were similar to those for Pan American Air Lines, in that both passenger travel and cargo services needed to be emphasized. U.S. Lines operated what were considered the flagships of the American merchant fleet during the 1940s and 1950s, the S.S. America, and United States, luxury liners with the latest in technology and amenities. JWT managed one of the longest testimonial campaigns for the carrier, which lasted from 1950 well into the 1960s, and oversaw the account during the switch to container cargo ships and the decline of ocean travel as air travel became more popular and affordable. JWT lost the account to Newmark Posner & Mitchell in 1969.


Testimonial advertisement for US Lines, 1957
1937 Jan 01 – 1984 Dec 31
W.F. Young account
Absorbine for Horses, 1930s.

Absorbine Jr. was introduced in 1903 as a multi-use liniment useful for both muscle aches and athlete's foot. JWT's New York Office handled advertising in the U.S. while the Montreal Office serviced the Canadian market. During JWT's tenure on the account, Young also introduced Absorbine Veternary Liniment, formulated primarily for horses, and Hooflex, a hoof conditioner and dressing. A 1977 campaign featured dancer and actor Donald O'Connor.


Absorbine for Horses, 1970s.
1938 Jan 01 – 1964 Dec 31
Association of American Playing Card Manufacturers
Association of American Playing Card Manufacturers Campaign of the Week, 1950.

JWT was active in the formation of the AAPCM, a trade group of major playing card producers. Original membership included Arreo Playing Card Company, Brown & Bigelow, E.E. Fairchild, the United States Playing Card Company, and the Western Playing Card Company. While the initial intent was for competing card manufacturers to band together to promote card playing activities, the group also undertook some card player advocacy. The group sponsored a survey of bridge players that ultimately forced the American Contract Bridge League to standardize their playing rules. It also undertook the first national survey of card playing in the United States, in 1941. In 1940 the organization helped create the National Intercollegiate Bridge Tournament which grew to include 6,000 participants from 180 colleges by 1959. 


AAPCM Campaign of the Week, 1954.
1938 Jan 01 – 2009 Dec 31
Kellogg account
Special K, 1950s.

The Kellogg Company grew out of nutritional concerns that preoccupied the Kellogg brothers while they were working at Battle Creek Sanitarium. Requests for cereals from former patients prompted W.K. Kellogg to form his own business. First called Sanitas, then The Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, the company began manufacturing corn flakes and later other cereal varieties under the Kellogg's brand.


Corn Flakes, 1959
Sugar Frosted Flakes, 1959.
Meuslix, 1989
Nutri-Grain, 1982.

1939 Jan 01 – 1975 Dec 31
Institute of Life Insurance account
Institue of Life Insurance, 1940s.

The Institute of Life Insurance was formed in 1938 after a resolution adopted at the annual meeting of the National Association of Life Underwriters to form a central source for information and public relations for the life insurance industry. JWT Vice-Chairman Henry Flower was instrumental in its creation. Initially, there were 76 members; membership grew to 160 by 1949 and eventually to include 90% of the life insurance businesses operating in the United States and Canada. JWT acquired the account in 1939; the first advertisements appeared in 1941. Early advertisements featured the Institute's president in a series of informal "Hindsight and Foresight" talks. During World War II, campaigns discussed wellness, inflation and family welfare. In the 1950s and 1960s, advertisement copy emphasized the importance of life insurance for heads of families, the general benefits of life insurance, and efforts to improve the image of insurance agents. The Institute also co-sponsored public-interest television programming during the 1960s. In 1975 the account was transferred to Grey Advertising.


WWII Wellness advertisement
Henry Flower, undated
1939 Jan 01
Consumer Panel
Arno Johnson, undated.

Established in 1939 under the direction of Arno Johnson, then Director of Research, the Consumer Panel was a monthly report on U.S. consumer purchases. Originally the panel consisted of 400 non-farming families, but the scope was expanded to 2,000 families during its second year and grew to 5,000. Participants kept records of their household purchases and reported them to JWT's Research Department. The Panel was designed to provide an accurate depiction of middle-income consumer buying. Original criteria for Panel constitution included white, non-farming families, excluding the poorest 22% and the richest 3% of Americans, the result intending to represent what Johnson described as "the 75% of the population which buys 85% of all consumer goods." Data collected--price paid, brand, size, quantity purchased--was cross-checked against manufacturers' actual sales records in order to verify accuracy. Beginning in 1960 the Consumer Panel was transferred to the Marketing Research Corporation of America; also in that year, a Television Panel was instituted, in which 1,100 families kept a diary of their viewing history. 


JWT ad for their consumer panel studies, 1949.
JWT ad recruiting members for their consumer panel.
Consumer panel publication 1956 Cover
Consumer panel inside pages, 1956.

1939 Jan 01 – 1969 Dec 31
J.B. Williams account
Aqua Velva Ad, 1956.

JWT handled advertising for J.B. Williams' products 'Lectric Shave, Aqua Velva aftershave, and Kreml shampoo.  In 1956, JWT research led to a re-formulation of Aqua Velva with a new color and scent, and the "Ice Blue" redesigned packaging won Gold Medal and Best in Show awards from the Package Design Council.


Award-winning Aqua Velva packaging.
Electric Shaver, 1950s.
1942 Jan 01 – 1971 Dec 31
U.S. Brewers' Association account
Brewer's ad that connects beer with morale on the battlefield in WWII, 1942.

The U.S. Brewers Association, a trade group, formed in 1862, and renamed as the U.S. Brewers Foundation in 1944, and continued under that name until its demise in 1986. JWT campaigns focused on the health benefits of beer, a"Good for You" slogan that remained in use 1945-1960, and encouragements to include beer with meals and socializing: "Beer Belongs" (1945-1958) and "Beer and Ale Belong with Daily Meals" (1964). A 1952 campaign described beer as "America's Beverage of Moderation."


A 1955
US Brewer's, 1962.
Brewer Newsletter, 1959.
1942 Jan 01 – 1978 Dec 31
Pan America World Airways account

Pan Am was begun in 1927 by a group of Word War I veteran pilots, originally flying routes in the Caribbean. They developed national routes in the 1930s, and turned to JWT in 1942 to promote their passenger and cargo services. JWT coined for the airline the slogan "The World's Most Experienced Airline" which remained in use for many years. Notable campaigns emphasized "around the world" air service, the "Jet Clipper" concept, computer reservation systems, and the launch of the Boeing 747 airplane.  In 1967 JWT Account Supervisor Robert Weikart called the Pan Am account "the truest, bluest, all-woolest, 18-karat, international account at Thompson. They are truly global." Financial difficulties with the airline caused JWT to lose the cargo portion of the account in 1970, and the passenger account in 1978.


1950's advertisement with a drawing by Norman Rockwell.
1967 advertisement featuring the fleet of Pan Am aircraft.
1967 Pan Am Stewardess ad.
Pan American was one of the first airlines to adopt Boeing's new 747 jet, which became an icon of long-distance travel.

Saturday Evening Post regular Henry Syverson contributed a number of cartoon images to Pan American advertising, 1969.
1942 Jan 01 – 1978 Dec 31
Seven-Up Company account
The

7-Up was invented by Charles Grigg in 1929 as a lemon-lime flavored patent medicine containing the mood enhancer lithium Citrate. Over time the recipe changed to the popular soft drink formula. JWT was initally awarded the advertising account in 1942 and held it until 1978, when the agency was dismissed in the wake of 7-Up's acquisition by Philip Morris. JWT's Chicago Office produced a number of notable campaigns for 7-UP, including "Fresh UP" (1950s), "Wet 'n' Wild" (1960s), the Uncola (1967) and Un Do It (1977). JWT also participated in the launch of Diet 7-Up and the rollout of disposable liter and half-liter bottles, the first in the U.S. soft drink industry. 7-Up had a significant presence at the 1964 World's Fair, constructing the 7-Up pavilion complete with 110-foot clock tower and the "International Sandwich Garden." JWT's "Uncola" campaign has been recognized as one of the most memorable in American advertising history; the longevity and appeal of the campaign is borne out by N.W. Ayer, JWT's successor agency at the brand, resurrecting the Uncola campaign in the 1990s.


Image of the 1964 World's Fair 7-Up building model.
7-Up, circa 1976.
7-Up was one of the first soft drinks to
1977's

1942 Jan 01 – 1981 Dec 31
Mentholatum Company account
Mentholatum Nasal advertisement, 1940s.

Mentholatum's "Deep Heat" Rub was developed in 1953 and nationally distributed by late 1954. Originally serviced by the New York Office, in 1972 the account transferred to the Chicago Office. Mentholatum moved its advertising account to Jordan Case & McGrath in 1981 over a conflict with JWT's Absorbine Jr. account with W.F. Young.


Mentholatum Heat Rub, 1950s.
1942 Jan 01 – 1989 Dec 31
Garrett Corporation/Allied Signal account
Garrett advertisement, 1974.

JWT serviced the Garrett corporation through several modes of corporate organization over a relationship that lasted nearly 50 years. The Signal Gasoline company was established in 1922 and served the U.S. west coast markets. Beginning in 1942, JWT produced corporate advertising for Garrett, mainly out of the Los Angeles Office. JWT maintained the relationship when Garrett merged with Signal in 1964 to become Signal Oil and Gas. Garrett was a subsidiary of Signal Companies (SCI) in 1977 when JWT was awarded the corporate advertising account for all of SCI. In 1985 the Allied Corporation merged with SCI to form Allied-signal and retained the services of JWT through 1989.


Allied Signal advertisement, 1989.
Allied Signal advertisment featuring military aircraft, 1989.
Allied Signal advertisement featuring civilian aircraft, circa 1990.
1942 Jan 01 – 2014 Dec 31
Ad Council
1942 United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve recrutiment booklet.

JWT was instrumental in the creation and continuation of the Ad Council. Beginning in 1939, James Webb Young began making contacts and organizing meetings to organize the advertising industry to handle public relations campaigns aimed at generating support for humanitarian and other activities associated with the war in Europe. In April 1941 Stanley B. Resor, then president of the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT), outlined the advertising industry's role in the coming conflict. In an article published in New York City Sunday newspapers, he spoke of advertising agencies' two goals: to keep consumers purchasing goods in order to help offset war expenses, and to relate the "truths" behind the government's policies and programs. These activities led to the establishment of the War Advertising Council in 1942. Advertising campaigns that supported the war effort were designed by the War Advertising Council and approved by appropriate U.S. government agencies during World War II. Actual advertisements were in turn sponsored by various businesses that would often add their company name to the advertisements. With the support of clients such as Kraft, Chesebrough-Pond's and the U.S. Brewers Associaion, JWT also blended product advertisements with national homefront messages. JWT was also responsible for recruitment material for the U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve (USMCWR) and efforts to recruit women into war production industries. After the end of World War II, The War Advertising Council continued to produce public service campaigns. The name changed to the Advertising Council, more popularly known as the Ad Council.


A 1942 Miracle Whip ad featuring the U.S. Offical Food Guide produced by the Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services.
A 1942 Pond's Cold Cream ad featuring a war bride working in a Field Laboratory.
A 1944 ad for the U.S. Brewer's Association stressing the importance of letters from home in maintaining troop morale.
Congratulatory letter from the Writers' War Board to JWT, 1943.

Bond drives were a popular means of generating resources to support efforts during both World Wars. This 1949 advertisement for Savings Bonds extends the practice to peacetime, and private savings for personal and family future goals.
Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1995. Produced by JWT Atlanta.
1944 Jan 01 – 1983 Dec 31
McClatchy Newspapers account
 

JWT's San Francisco Office represented McClatchy newspapers from 1944, and McClatchy Broadcasting beginning in 1946.


1944 Jan 01 – 1997 Dec 31
Ford Dealer Association account
This 1946 dealer advertisement features two popular slogans of the period:

The Ford Dealer Association (FDA) formed in 1933 to translate corporate marketing strategies to the realities of local and regional markets. The FDA was organized into regional districts and metropolitan area committees, and a Ford Dealer Advertising Fund was established to create advertisements that would create a middle ground between the factory and individual dealerships. After JWT won the Ford account in 1943, the agency began to approach the FDA beginning in 1944. JWT signed the Atlanta area committee in August, 1944, and quickly added other localities and metropolitan areas. local and regional campaigns include "Ford Fever," "Texas, Ford and You," "Test-Drive It Today at Your Ford Dealer's," and seasonal and model-year-end clearance promotions. JWT developed a Regional Advertising Group, and currently represents 85% of Ford's dealer network.


Ad focusing on automotive service at Ford Dealerships.
Ford Dealer Mustang ad, 1968.
Ford Dealer advertisement, 1971. The logo of the Ford Dealer Advertising Fund may be seen on the lower right side of the advertisement. 
1971

1944 Jan 01
Ford Motor Company account

Relations between Ford and JWT go back to the early 1900s; JWT held the Ford advertising account briefly around 1910-1911 and over the years several former JWT staffers took positions at Ford. In August, 1916, Stanley Resor wrote to C.A. Brownell, former executive at JWT who was then working at Ford, to announce Mr. Thompson's retirement and to congratulate Ford on their new car, describing it as "one of the most conspicuous recognitions on the part of a big manufacturer, of the value of beauty in commercial life." In 1942 John Thompson of the Ford News Bureau (and a former JWT executive) sought to set up a meeting between the automaker and JWT. Correspondence continued through 1943. In November 1943 Bob Collier of Ford wrote Danny Danker at JWT Hollywood: "Neil Ryan and Henry Stanton (both of JWT) are due here tomorrow. Out of this conference, many interesting things may transpire." JWT had actually been courting Chrysler when Ford indicated their interest. JWT acquired the Ford account in December 1943, and opened with a campaign slogan "There's a Ford in Your Future" which appeared in 1945. The account was originally serviced by the Chicago office, and moved to New York in 1945 before transferring to Detroit, where it remains today. JWT would help Ford launch the 1949 Ford (the first complete redesign of an automobile in the postwar era), Thunderbird, Mustang, Taurus, Explorer, Ranger and Escort, among others. The Mustang launch marked the first ever advertising "roadblock" when JWT bought media time on all three broadcast networks to announce the new car. Notable campaigns include "Better Idea," "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?" and "No Boundaries." Ford campaigns have featured prominent artists including Charles Schultz and Howard Scott. In 1999, JWT executed the first global advertising roadblock with their "Global Anthem" campaign. Currently JWT participates in Team Detroit, a multi-agency global communications collaboration. The success of Ford's brand and marketing strategies allowed Ford to be the only one of the Big Three U.S. automakers to refuse bailout funding after the economic downturn of 2008.


Ford connected with the Peanuts cartoon characters from 1960-1962, and especially to reinforce the launch of the Falcon.
The Mustang launch was the first television
Mustang Cobra brochure.
This Ford Escort advertisement focuses on the car's milage.

Ford Taurus, 1980s.
JWT House Ad featuring Ford, 1983.
The Ford Explorer launched in 1990.
1945 Jan 01 – 1984 Dec 31
Reader's Digest account
Reader's Digest, 1963.

JWT acquired the Reader's Digest account in 1945. In 1957, a booklet entitled "Lasting Ideas," a collection of quotations from prominent people that was intended for limited release through trade magazines and national newspapers, turned into an unexpected public relations success when overwhelming calls for reprints forced a second printing. JWT began the magazine's first television campaign in 1959, which developed into a series of teasers that featured dramatizations of articles appearing in the latest edition of "The Digest" and prompted readers to newsstands. The advertising campaign was cited in 1959 by the International Advertising Association for its contribution to international publishing. By the 1960s Reader's Digest boasted an international audience of 65 million readers across 125 countries and 13 languages, and had the largest television advertising budget of any publication. Upon co-founder Lila Wallace's death in 1984, management changes at the magazine led to the termination of its association with JWT.


Reader's Digest Trade ad, 1960s.
Reader's Digest ad featuring the publication's national circulation, circa 1970.
This ad directly compares Reader's Digest to its competitors.

1945 Jan 01 – 1991 Jan 01
Blue Cross and Blue Shield account
Blue Cross Blue Shield, late 1940s.

In 1945 75 of 84 Blue Cross Association's regional plans voted to assign local newspaper responsibilities to JWT. JWT produced Blue Cross's national campaign beginning in 1955, but resigned in 1965 while retaining regional advertising duties. The national account returned to JWT in the 1970s. Blue Cross and the Blue Shield Medical Care Plans merged in 1982 to become Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  


This Blue Cross Blue Shield ad from 1956 features a testimonial.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, 1956.
The

1946 Jan 01 – 1995 Dec 31
McDonnell Douglas Corporation account
This McDonnell Douglas advertisement notes the JWT Chicago Office's efforts to connect with the employees of both the company and its supply chain for an overall quality improvement initiative.

JWT represented Douglas Aircraft from 1946 until its merger with McDonnell Aircraft to form McDonnell Douglas in 1967. JWT produced corporate advertising in print and television as well as public relations services. During JWT's tenure, McDonnell Douglas produced a number of iconic commercial and military aircraft, including the Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom, the Saturn rocket, DC9 and DC10 commercial jets, the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, and the F-15 Eagle which was one of the most publicized aircraft of the Gulf War. JWT successfully repositioned the DC10 for positive consumer perception after the plane was grounded in 1979 for a series of crashes and equipment failures. JWT's 1982 campaign "A Missile for All Seasons" changed perceptions over concerns about the limitations of then-new cruise missiles. JWT won the advertising and public relations account for the A-12 tactical plane in 1986 and the LHX helicopter in 1988. In 1989, after McDonnell Douglas had won the contract for NASA's Space Station, JWT's public relations campaign was instrumental in boosting public support for continued government funding. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw increased competition among commercial aircraft builders and a decline in military spending, especially after the conclusion of Gulf War activities. After several years of struggling finances, McDonnell Douglas put its advertising accounts into review in 1995, eventually awarding them to McCann-Erickson. Two years later, in 1997, McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing.


This ad features McDonnell Douglas' work for NASA, 1980s.
McDonnell Douglas, 1980s.
1946 May 09
Sponsored television
Print advertisement celebrating the 11th season of Kraft Theater television series.

The Hour Glass was the first sponsored televised variety show, for Standard Brands and broadcast by NBC. Some episodes featured ventrloquist and comedian Edgar Bergen, one of the first radio personalities to make the transition to television. In 1947 the first dramatic television series, the Kraft Television Theatre, appeared, also by a JWT client.


1947 Jan 01
A 100 million dollar agency
 

JWT became the first advertising agency to record $100 million in billings.


1947 Jan 01 – 1977 Dec 31
Ted Wilson
Ted Wilson, undated.

Edward Bohde (Ted) Wilson (1920-) joined JWT in 1947. He served as Managing Director of the Chicago Office (1971-), President and Chief Operating Officer (1974-) and Chairman (1975-) before retiring in 1977.


1969 JWT Newsletter article announcing Wilson's promotion to head of Personnel.
1947 Jan 01 – 2014 Dec 31
U.S. Marine Corps account

JWT's association with the Marine Corps in some ways is as old as the agency itself. James Walter Thompson served in the Marines during the Civil War, and many JWT staff over the years have been former Marines. In 1941 the Marine Corps commissioned JWT to conduct a survey of urban and rural youth to gauge attitudes toward the Corps. JWT was awarded the Marine Corps advertising account in 1947, initially for "counseling services" and later on for advertising and public relations, and has maintained the relationship since.  In 2012 Tobei Arai, group account director at JWT said that the "relationship between JWT and the Marine Corps endures because of a cultural understanding between the two organizations." JWT has produced campaigns for the Marine Corps that centered around iconic slogans, such as "A Few Good Men" (1970s) that achieved over 90% recognition and recall rates in research surveys, and "The Few, the Proud, the Marines" in the 1980s. 


US Marine Corps, 1970s.
US Marine Corps, 1990s.
Changing with the times, Marine Corps recruitment advertising included women in their messages.
The ad features the famous

This 1985 television commercial for the Marine Corps won awards.
1948 Jan 01 – 1980 Dec 31
Sperry/New Holland account
Sperry New Holland, 1959.

JWT was awarded the account for North American advertising in 1948 and for worldwide advertising responsibilities in 1966. During the late 1960s, a "limerick" campaign for New Holland farm equipment bucked an industry-wide trend of advertising and marketing agricultural machinery like industrial products by using memorable humor to connect with farmers as consumers. A bicentennial-period campaign (1974-1976) included a poem "A Farmer's Creed" that generated widespread outpouring of public praise, unsolicited letters and requests for reprints.


Sperry New Holland, 1970.
Sperry New Holland, 1979.
1948 Jan 01 – 1997 Dec 31
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company account
Northwestern Mutual Life, 1950s.

Northwestern Mutual was founded in 1857 in Wisconsin. JWT's developed a "Faces of Destiny" campaign for the company, a testimonial series featuring prominent businessmen photographed by noted photographers such as Yousuf Karsh. The campaign ran for nearly 20 years. Northwestern Mutual's first television campaign was as a sponsor of the 1972 Summer Olympics, and marked the beginning of the insurance company's focus on the sports-viewing demographic, where a long-running campaign positioned the firm as the "Quiet Company." "We're a Tough Act to Follow," a campaign theme that began in 1980, ran in print, radio and television, including spots during the Super Bowl in 1984. In 1989, advertising leading up to the 1990 Super Bowl included headlines "Don't Watch the Super Bowl" and "Super Bowl Party Kit."


Northwestern Mutual Life, 2000.
1949 Jan 01 – 1986 Dec 31
Champion Spark Plug account
Champion Spark Plug, 1956.

JWT was initially awarded the international account for Champion in 1949, as Champion's domestic agency, McManus, lacked sufficient international operations capability. JWT won the domestic account in 1955. In 1961 the Detroit Office was asked to take over Canadian advertising responsibilities.


Champion Spark Plug, 1961.
Spanish language Champion Spark Plug ad, 1956.
1951 Jan 01 – 1987 Dec 31
Don Johnston
Don Johnston, undated.

Don Johnston (1927-) began working at JWT as a trainee in the mail room. He became a manager at several international offices and served as President and Chief Executive Officer (1974-) and Chairman (1978-) before retiring in 1987.


Don Johnston Office, 1970s.
Don Johnston, 1970s.
Johnston at his induction into the Advertising Hall of Fame, 1979.
House advertisement announcing the establishment of Brouillard Communications, a JWT subsidiary.

1953 Jan 01 – 1994 Dec 31
Aunt Jemima/Quaker Oats account
Aunt Jemima Cake Mixes, 1950s.

Quaker pulled the Aunt Jemima account from JWT in 1935, but reassigned it to the agency in 1953 after a period of steadily declining sales. By the 1950s, pancakes had been stigmatized as old fashioned and high-caloried, which ran counter to prevailing fashions for modern convenience and diet-consciousness. JWT campaigns during the 1950s and 1960s resurrected the "Aunt Jemima legend," which had been abandoned in advertising since the 1930s, while promoting innovations such as the "shaker" method of preparing pancake mix along with frozen varieties of pancakes and waffles.  During the 1970s and 1980s, JWT added responsibilities for other Quaker acquisitions, such as Ken-L-Ration pet foods and Fisher Price toys.


Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, 1954.
JWT newsletter article announcing Quaker's first sponsored television special, 1969.
1955 Jan 01 – 1974 Dec 31
Dan Seymour
Dan Seymour, undated.

Dan Seymour (1914-1982) moved from Young & Rubicam to become the head of JWT's Radio-Television Department in 1955. Previously he had worked in radio, and was the radio announcer on Orson Wells' original "War of the Worlds" broadcast. He served as President (1964-), Chief Executive Officer (1967-) and Chairman (1972-1974).   


Dan Seymour, 1964.
Dan Seymour' office.
Article written by Dan Seymour in 1970.
1956 Jan 01 – 1987 Dec 31
Jack Peters
Jack Peters, undated.

Jack Peters (1931-1993) began work at JWT as an account manager. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1984 until his retirement in 1987.


News article featuring Jack Peters, 1980s.
1957 Jan 01 – 1970 Jan 01
Stephen King
Stephen King, undated

Stephen King (1931-2006) was one of JWT's great theorists and visionaries responsible for JWT and in particular the London Office to enjoy its longstanding reputation as the "University of Advertising." He joined the London Office in 1957 in the Marketing Department and created and headed several groundbreaking departments: Advertising Research Unit (1964); New Product Development Unit (1966); Account Planning Department (1968). His ideas, expressed through speeches and numerous published writings, helped JWT develop innovative account planning tools, from the T-Plan to the Thompson Way. King served as head of the Development Unit (1976-), Director of Research and Development (circa 1983); and Chairman of Market Research Bureau, International (MRBI). He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1986. After his retirement in 1988, King served four years on the Board of Directors at WPP.


Some of King's most influential writings were collected into a volume, The King Papers
A conference paper written by King in 1967.
1959 Jan 01 – 2007 Dec 31
Oscar Mayer account
Oscar Mayer,

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, JWT ran a jingle contest in 1962 which was won by Richard Trentlage of Adver/Sonic Productions in Chicago. Commercials featuring "I Wish I Was An Oscar Mayer Weiner" began running the following year, and continued well into the 1960s. The "Weiner Song" became a radio hit and a staple of high school marching bands. Another jingle campaign appeared in 1974, featuring then-4 year old Andy Lambros singing the song "My Bologna Has a First Name, It's O-S-C-A-R" penned by young copyriter Steve Merson. The bologna campaign ran through the 1970s in various forms. JWT lost the weiner and ham accounts in 1972 to Chicago-based agency Clinton E. Frank, Inc. only to regain both in 1977. In 1973 a series about food and health won an Award for Excellence in television from the Society for Nutrition Education and Family Health Magazine. JWT produced advertising for a number of other Oscar Mayer products, including Claussen Pickles, Stuffin' Burgers, and Lunchables. The Oscar Mayer brand was acquired by Kraft Foods in 1989; the account was reassigned in 2007 during a restructuring of brand strategy by Kraft.


Promotion for Oscar Mayer
Oscar Mayer, 1970s.
Oscar Mayer food service ad, 1970s.
Oscar Mayer bacon, 1970s.

Oscar Mayer bologna, 1970s.
Claussen Pickles, 1979.
1963 Jan 01 – 1973 Dec 31
Henry Schachte
Henry Schachte, undated.

Henry Schachte (1913-1991) joined JWT in 1963, coming from Lever Brothers where he had served as Advertising Vice President. Schachte served as Executive Chairman of the Review Board (1963); Board of Directors (1964); Manager of the New York Office; Chairman of the Executive Committee (1969-); President and Chief Operating Officer (1972-1973) before his retirement at the end of 1973. He is credited with reinforcing a sense of market discipline and pragmatism from his experience in packaged goods marketing. He was quoted in his New York Times obituary as saying in 1971, just prior to his ascendence to President: "We are rapidly developing a new breed of futurists who peer into the future and come up with visions that vary from apocalyptic to paradisaical."


Newsletter article announcing Schachte's appointment as Chair of the Executive Committe, 1969.
1963 Jan 01 – 1982 Jan 01
Wayne Fickinger
Wayne Fickinger, undated.

Wayne Fickinger (1927-) joined JWT Chicago as an Account Supervisor, a position he had previously held at McCann Marschalk. He served as Vice President (1965), Executive Vice President (1972), Managing Director of the Chicago Office (1973), Board of Directors (1973) and President of JWT New York (1978) before being named President and Chief Operating Officer of JWT in 1979. He retired in 1982, and became Vice Chairman of Bozell & Jacobs in 1984. A specialist in packaged consumer goods, Fickinger worked on accounts for Alberto-Culver, Simoniz, Parker Pen and Gillette while at JWT.


Memo announcing Fickinger's appointment as President and COO, 1979.
Profile sketch, 1970s.
1965 Jul 01
First satellite broadcast
Newsletter feature celebrating the first trans-Atlantic telecast, from New York to a Kraft conference in Switzerland.

For Kraft


1966 Jan 01 – 1987 Dec 31
Rena Bartos
Rena Bartos, undated.

Rena Bartos left McCann-Erickson and joined JWT in 1966 as head of Creative Research. She was promoted to Senior Vice President in 1977. Her 1982 publication "The Moving Target," was a groundbreaking study of women as consumers that paved the way for numerous other studies of ethnic, gender, lifestyle and age-group consumer groups. Bartos retired from JWT in 1987 to form the Rena Bartos Company, a research firm. The same year, Bartos was inducted into the Market Research Hall of Fame. A follow-up book, "Marketing to Women Around the World," was published in 1988. 


The Moving Target, 1982.
Memo announcing Bartos' appointment as Senior Vice President, 1975.
Adweek feature on Bartos and her research into
1966 Jan 01 – 1997 Dec 31
American Gas Association account
This 1983 tie-in with Keating gas griddles uses the AGA slogan emphasizing economics.

The American Gas Association is an interest and advocacy group formed in 1918 to promote natural gas and represent the collective interests of natural gas utility companies. Public relations work was handled by JWT subsidiary Brouillard Communications and was their largest client during the 1980s.


Advertisement promoting natural gas-operated cooling equipment, 1994. By the 1990s, AGA's slogans combined economics with an environmental message.
1968 Jan 01 – 1997 Dec 31
Burt Manning
Burt Manning, undated.

Burton Manning joined the JWT Chicago Office in 1968 as a copywriter, and rose to head that office before becoming head of JWT USA in 1980. He resigned in 1986, but was rehired the following year after the acquisition of the agency by WPP. Manning served as Chairman and CEO of JWT Worldwide from 1987 until his retirement in 1997, the first former Creative Director to head the agency. He was elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1998.


Memo announcing Burt Manning promotion to Creative Director, 1975
House advertisement featuring then-Creative Director Manning.
Manning's success during his second tenure as CEO was widely celebrated in the trade press, 1989.
1969 Jan 01
JWT goes public
Newsletter feature showing Dan Seymour signing documents that turned JWT into a publicly traded corporation.

JWT became a publicly traded company.


1969 Jan 01 – 2001 Dec 31
Charlotte Beers
Charlotte Beers, undated.

Charlotte Beers joined JWT's Chicago Office in 1969. She was promoted to Senior Vice President in 1973, becoming the first woman to hold that position and the highest ranking woman at JWT to that date. Beers was named Director of Client Services in 1974 and remained until she resigned in 1979 to become Managing Partner at Tatham Laird Kudner. She was named "Ad Woman of the Year" in 1975 by the Women's Ad Club. Beers would go on to become CEO of Ogilvy & Mather before returning to JWT as Chairman in 1999. She served as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy 2001-2003 and was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2009.


Charlotte Beers, undated.
Charlotte Beers in conference room, undated.
Memo announcing Beers' appointment as Senior Vice President, 1973.
1975 Jan 01 – 2005 Jan 01
Peter Schweitzer
Peter Schweitzer, undated.

Peter Schweitzer joined JWT in 1975 as Management Supervisor on the Warner-Lambert account at JWT New York, but is best remembered for his long service and devotion to the Ford account and the Detroit Office. Elected to the Board of Directors in 1986, Schweitzer became President, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Worldwide Head of the Ford account in 1993, but relinquished the title of COO the following year to stay in Detroit and manage Ford's global advertising. Upon the retirement of Chris Jones, Schweitzer took over as CEO of JWT in 2001. He was named Chairman of JWT in 2004 but announced his retirement at the end of the same year. He became Chairman Emeritus in 2005.


Peter Schweitzer profile sketch, 1980s.
Announcement of Schweitzer's appointment as President and COO in 1993.
1976 Jan 01 – 1986 Dec 31
Burger King account

Burger King was a fast-service limited-menu restaurant subsidiary of the Pillsbury Company when JWT acquired the account in 1976. Early campaigns highlighted key attributes of the Burger Kink experience such as food quality, specialty sandwiches, a variety of menu options, fun and friendly atmosphere, prompt service, and value for your money. Notable slogans included "Make It Special" which highlighted a family friendly atmosphere. JWT also launched several cross-promotional campaings including one for Star Wars in 1978. In 1981 JWT planned a new campaign coined in a 1981 memo as "Battle of the Burgers." A pioneering campaign, the "Battle of the Burgers" centered around direct comparisons of various aspects of Burger King's food and service model versus those of their competitors. Subjects of the test were asked to compare taste, size, appearance, juiciness, flavor of the bun, broiling versus frying, and participate in a blind taste test. The campaign and response from Burger King's competitors became a cultural phenomenon commonly referred to as the "Burger Wars." Although JWT lost the account in 1986, Burger King's average store sales grew %145 during that time.


Ad from Star Wars cross-promotional campaign, 1978.
Burger Wars ad, 1982.
Burger Wars ad, 1982.
Burger Wars ad, 1982.

1976 Jan 01 – 1987 Dec 31
Joe O'Donnell
Joe O'Donnell, early 1980s.

Joseph O'Donnell (1942-) began work with JWT as an account representative in the New York Office. He managed the Detroit and Chicago offices before being elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1986. He was fired in 1987 during a period of internal turmoil and later served as CEO and Chairman of the Campbell Mithun Esty agency. 


Joe O'Donnell profile sketch, 1978.
1977 Jan 01
A Billion dollar agency
Page from the 1977 Annual Report, depicting billings at $1.2 billion.

Billings for the first time exceed $1 billion


1980 Jan 01 – 1987 Dec 31
JWT Group
JWT Group Logo, 1980.

Stockholders approved the creation of a holding company, JWT Group, consisting of the J. Walter Thompson Company, Hill & Knowlton and Lord Geller Federico & Einstein. JWT Group was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1983 and the Pacific Stock Exchange in 1985. 


JWT restructuring memo, 1980.
JWT Group Mission Statement, 1980.
1982 Jan 01
CableShop
Announcement for Cable Shop, 1982.

A joint project between JWT and Adams-Russell, the Cable Shop was an interactive shopping information service whereby cable subscribers called a Personal User Number to request specific advertising messages that lasted 3-7 minutes.


Cable Shop mailing, 1982.
Cable Shop demonstration, 1982.
1984 Jan 01 – 2001 Jan 01
Chris Jones
Chris Jones, undated.

Christopher Jones (1956-) joined JWT in 1984 and was named co-President and Chief Executive Officer of JWT Worldwide in 1996, the youngest ever to head the agency and the first non-American CEO there. Jones retired in 2001 due to illness and returned to England. In 2002 he joined Motion Equity Partners and was named to the Board of Directors of Forbes in 2010.


1987
WPP Takeover
Martin Sorrell, undated.

British holding company WPP, headed by Martin Sorrell, tendered a successful stock bid to take over JWT, joining several other major advertising agencies controlled by WPP.


1995 Jan 01
JWT on the Web
This advertisement shows JWT's efforts to help Ford and its dealer network navigate car buyers' use of the internet to make purchase decisions, 1990s.

In 1995 JWT launched an interactive website under the theme "It's a World." The ambitious site was largely the work of the San Francisco Office and was intended to highlight the media and technical abilities of JWT operations, rather than to merely display a gallery of the agency's current work. The website featured online games, client information, links to JWT offices (the corporate site was intended as a hub to which each office's site would link to form a corporate network), and information about the agency and its history. JWT was also an early adopter of the Intranet to facilitate internal communications. JWT's digital media expertise dates as well to the early 1990s. The agency's e-branding and communications capabilities has continually expanded: in 2000 JWT acquired and combined digital experts Coolfire Interactive and Imaginet; Imaginet, ThompsonConnect, digital@jwt, and other operations were melded to form the Relationship Marketing Group, or RMG Connect in 2005; RMG Connect relocated to JWT's Minneapolis Office in 2009; JWT acquired San Diego-based Digitaria in 2010 and rebranded the Minneapolis Office as Digitaria Minneapolis in 2012. Ex-Republic Family CEO David Eastman became JWT's first Worldwide Digital Director in 2008.


JWT was also an early adopter of the intranet, for internal communications.
This 1995 memo illustrates part of the design and approval process for JWT's website.
1998 Jan 01 – 2014 Jan 01
Bob Jeffrey
Bob Jeffrey.

Bob Jeffrey joined JWT as President of the New York Office in 1998, coming from Lowe & Partners where he had been Executive Vice President and Managing Director. He served as President of JWT USA (2001-) before being named Worldwide CEO in 2003. He announced his retirement in November 2013, naming Gustavo Martinez, former President of McCann Worldwide, as his successor.  


1998 AdWeek article announcing Jeffrey's hiring to head the JWT New York Office.
Bob Jeffrey discusses the market situation in India, 2006.
2004 Jan 01 – 2005 Dec 31
JWT rebranding
As part of JWT's rebranding, the agency issued a deck of cards depicting its rearticulated mission and creative focus.

Adweek magazine credits Bob Jeffrey with coining the phrase "billion dollar startup" around 2003 to emphasize a new direction at JWT: an attempt to develop the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that animated smaller agencies. In 2004 JWT hired Rosemarie Ryan as President and Ty Montague as Co-President and Chief Creative Officer of the New York Office in an effort to revitalize the agency's creative direction (the two were later promoted to co-head JWT North America). The agency formally changed its name from The J. Walter Thompson Company to JWT in 2005 and issued an agency-wide program called the "Creative Partnership Contract" outlining a set of principles intended to focus creative efforts.  It was the first agency-wide doctrine articulated at the agency since "Thompson Total Branding" (TTB) in 1996, but where TTB maintained the agency's traditional account management orientation, the Creative Partnership emphasized the creative side of advertising.