1864 – 1869: A TIME OF GREAT CHANGE
1870 – 1879: the industrial revolution
1880 – 1889: the gilded age; an agency is born
1890 – 1899: the progressive era begins
1900 – 1909: made in the u.s.a
1910 – 1919: a world at war
1920 – 1929: roars and crashes
1930 – 1939: radio rises & the great depression
1940 – 1949: wwii and a new prosperity
1950 – 1959: the evolution will be televised
1960 – 1969: civil rights, hippies, & vietnam
1970 – 1979: feminism & the oil crisis
1980 – 1989: the internet is born
1990 – 1999: the internet is born
2000 – 2009: 9/11 and social media
2010 – onward: the rise of mobile
epilogue 2010 – onward: a connected future
J. Walter Thompson, the world's best-known marketing communications brand, has been inventing pioneering ideas since 1864.
As the J. Walter Thompson agency celebrates its 150th anniversary, join us on a trip through our history, which also happens
to be the history of advertising.
as with any good story,
we’ll start at the
beginning. James Walter Thompson was born
October 28th, 1847, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Nothing
pioneering yet, but all that would soon change.
In America, the Emancipation
Proclamation, which freed the slaves,
was signed. The 13th Amendment,
which abolished slavery forever, was
ratified. And an agency that would give
rise to the start of James Walter
Thompson’s career was founded.
Pioneer second. Marine first. During the Civil War, J. Walter Thompson served as a
Marine aboard the USS Saratoga, learning the fighting spirit that would win so
many clients in the not-too-distant future. Carlton & Smith, later to become the
J. Walter Thompson Agency, opens its doors.
After serving in the Marines, J. Walter
Thompson found himself in the company
of a few more good men—advertising
brokerage owners, William J. Carlton &
Edmund A. Smith. They employed him to
sell space in religious publications.
News traveled a whole lot faster in the 1800s
via the Telegraph, which brought an end to the
Pony Express. Horses across the United States
celebrated. Good news indeed.
Every great ad man knows how to sell. Thompson also knew
how to buy. For $500, he bought the Carlton & Smith Agency.
Another $800 for the furniture and a year later, James Walter
Thompson established the J. Walter Thompson Agency.
fun fact: Our founder chose to call his company J. Walter
Thompson because there were too many James Thompsons
The first commercially sold typewriters
were produced in 1873. Mark Twain was
among the first to purchase the machine,
which he termed a "curiosity- breeding
little joker." Copywriters agreed.
By the 1870s, steamship ocean liners begin to connect
the world in a way that allowed faster communication
and business. The global economy begins.
Skilled work, when published, costs no more than the
work without skill: so that the best work, such as I give, is
the cheapest because it brings better results.”
In the late 1800s, J. Walter Thompson pioneered the development of a creative department by hiring
writers and artists to create ads in order to sell more space. He realized more space would be sold if the
company could provide a service to advertisers by creating the ad content itself. Thus, the advertisers were
the creators of engaging content, taking the onus off the client. All us writers and art directors owe
J. Walter Thompson a special thanks for this one.
In 1886, the Ponds Extract Company and the Thompson
Agency formed a healthy relationship healing
thousands by successfully advertising Ponds Extract.
the j. walter thompson
agency owl takes flight
The original J. Walter Thompson Agency icon, the mighty owl,
was meant to represent wisdom – experience, judgment and
knowledge. The lamp in its talons is a symbol of light and
clearness of vision. And like all great things worth repeating,
the owl has come back into style today as the company’s logo
once again. Field mice of the ad industry, beware.
As a man ahead of his time, J. Walter Thompson recognized who truly makes the
majority of the household buying decisions. So he pioneered the idea of placing
ads in magazines and publications aimed at women.
An early ad for Swift & Co. lard.
In 1889, an in-house ad claimed that 80% of advertising
in the U.S. was placed by J. Walter Thompson New York.
You don’t earn a nickname like “The Commodore” for
nothing. So after he became a captain of industry,
J. Walter Thompson found the best way to get away
from it all was to be the captain of your own yacht.
In 1888, George Eastman introduced the world to
the first Kodak camera.
Thomas Edison brought electricity to New York City
in 1882, creating the first commercial grid.
Averse to creating anything that won’t stand the test of time, the
J. Walter Thompson Agency introduces the Rock of Gibraltar as
the symbol of Prudential Insurance. That symbol is still used today.
The evolution of the Prudential logo.
The Spanish-American war opened up new markets for
the J. Walter Thompson Agency. Speaking on global reach,
J. Walter said, “Trade follows the flag. Where trade goes,
the J. Walter Thompson Agency is ready to go also.”
The London office of
J. Walter Thompson
Agency opened with a tally-ho, and the
first international ad agency was born.
“Any spot on earth where goods are to be sold
by advertising is inside the fence of the
– J. Walter Thompson, 1898
The first radio signal hit the airways in 1897.
Great news for all aspiring voiceover talents.
The Commodore was notorious for his sweet tooth, and in 1900
J. Walter Thompson picked up the Peter’s Chocolate account. In 1911,
when Peter’s became Peter, Cailler, Kohler Swiss Chocolate Company,
J. Walter Thompson began their Wonka-like client tests to determine
which part of milk chocolate people preferred: the “milky” part or the
“cholcolaty” part. The milky part won. In a delicious 1929 merger, Peter,
Cailler, Kohler was purchased by Nestlé.
J. Walter Thompson worked to encourage American
businesses to advertise in the U.S. and also to
expand overseas. The Thompson Blue and Red
Books of Advertising provided a comprehensive
guide to advertising opportunities in all markets.
Kodak began selling the Kodak Brownie,
bringing photography to the mass market
for the first time.
Offset printing was adopted in the early
1900s. Art directors of the world rejoice.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency begins working with Unilever. The original
account team should take a bow, as it would go on to become the longest
continuing client-agency relationship in history.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency hired Helen
Lansdowne as a copywriter. The glass ceiling
would soon be shattered as she would go on to
become the advertising industry’s first female
“She represented the magic, the emotion, that
brings advertising to life...An ardent feminist she
won Thompson the reputation for being the
agency in which bright young women had the best
chance to succeed.” –Burt Manning
“Advertising Leadership 1864-1989"
In advertising goods, mean what you say and say exactly what you
mean. That is the way to win the confidence of the public.”
The J. Walter Thompson Agency promoted the use of a brand
beyond its primary purpose, when its ad for Cream of Wheat
touted the breakfast food as a morning treat after a fun night
of Halloween. Nothing like the promise of some warm porridge
to get those sugar-addled kids even more riled up before bed.
Also in 1912, the Titanic set sail. Sadly, out of
the J. Walter Thompson research and planning
department and the Titanic, only one is still alive
and strong today.
Sex sells, and the J. Walter Thompson Agency
proved it by
initiating the first use of sex appeal in
advertising. The product:
Woodbury Soap. The line:
“A skin you love to touch.” Seems
for today’s standards.
Two major things happened this year. The
Thompson T-Square was introduced, outlining
the agency’s approach to planning. It stated
that for every developing campaign, the
questions on the T-Square must be answered.
To answer these questions (on the Thompson T-Square), the agency must
first be able to grasp the business problem of selling the commodity just
as clearly as the organization of the manufacturer who makes it.”
James Webb Young gave up his career as
a Bible and
religious book salesman to
join The J. Walter Thompson
a copywriter. He eventually became a VP and
played a significant role in the company until 1964.
World War I is fought throughout Europe.
Faster horses are finally brought to the masses, as
Ford brought his Model T to the average American.
Ford later becomes a J. Walter Thompson client.
How do you tell women that they smell? Very, very carefully.
J. Walter Thompson creative directors Helen Lansdowne and
James Webb Young break the personal hygiene taboo and
market antiperspirant to women.
J. Walter Thompson makes the most delicious print ad in
history by creating the first ad with a recipe, for Libby’s.
Pioneering, even when it came to lard.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency
ruler marks on packages of lard for Swift
& Co., demonstrating
how to measure a
tablespoon of the product. This eventually
standard practice for all brands
of butter, lard and margarine.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency began its long and fruitful
relationship with Kraft Foods. This marked a milestone for both
advertising and sandwich history, as J. Walter Thompson
subsequently aided Kraft in popularizing the grilled cheese
sandwich in the United States. Children and the young at heart
would be eternally grateful.
Good morning, Detroit. AM station
8MK in Detroit became the first
news radio program. Sponsors, get
those ads ready.
Women have a say in which household products they
buy. So shouldn’t they have their say in everything
else? The Women’s Suffrage movement gained a
foothold, as women in the U.S. and many other parts
of the world finally got the right to vote.
This year was a testament to the J. Walter Thompson
Agency’s pioneering spirit, as they pioneered the use
of celebrity testimonials in advertising, to show the
superior qualities of Pond’s Extract.
Nestlé came into the fold, as they
joined the J. Walter Thompson Agency.
Say cheese! The J. Walter Thompson Agency replaced
illustrations with real images, as they pioneered the use
of photography in advertisements.
Gentlemen of J. Walter Thompson, start your engines. The J. Walter Thompson Agency
acquired the General Motors account, and followed GM’s expansion around the world.
Television flickered to life in 1927.
The first two television stations
were created by GE. WRGB and
NBC began operations in New York.
The industry mourned as a pioneer left us.
J. Walter Thompson passed away at the age of 81
from a stroke. The Commodore will be missed.
Advertising was born in the birthplace of
mankind. J. Walter Thompson opened up the first
offices in Africa in Egypt and South Africa.
The partnership between Shell and the
J. Walter Thompson Agency began.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency begins working with
Kimberly-Clark. Our relationship continues to this day.
J. Walter Thompson acquired the Stouffer’s account in 1929.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency popularized the frozen dinner
as things heated up in frozen food.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency launched the Standard
Brand’s sponsored program “Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour”
over the NBC Red Network. Band leader Rudy Vallée
proved so popular that audiences would often refer
to the show as “The Rudy Vallée Show.”
Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and others led the Jazz
Age as a unique genre of American music came to life in
the Roaring ’20s.
As a distant relative of the Commodore, President Franklin Roosevelt penned a letter to
J. Walter Thompson, unaware that he had passed away the previous year. In it, he asked for help
for his son Elliot, who wished for a career in the advertising industry. Elliot never did go on to
work at the J. Walter Thompson Agency.
Not even a depression can stop the march of radio. Despite
the harsh economic climate, the J. Walter Thompson Agency
continued to pioneer the medium of radio with radio soap
operas and other types of entertainment programming.
Like Rice Krispies and milk, the J. Walter Thompson Agency’s new
partnership with Kellogg’s was a match made in heaven.
Smiles become more than black and
white as Kodachrome brought color
photography to the masses in 1935.
Dan Seymour, former J. Walter Thompson President/CEO,
was the announcer who, in Orson Welles's famous 1938
radio broadcast of ''War of the Worlds,'' terrified listeners
with realistic bulletins on Martian invaders. Upwards of a
million people were supposedly convinced, if only briefly,
that the United States was being laid waste by alien invaders.
World War II required factories to produce war materials instead of
consumer goods. The J. Walter Thompson Agency helped American » manufacturers produce Public Service Announcements to support the
war effort and remind consumers that winning the war could mean
more consumer goods in the future.
Pearl Harbor in 1941 brought the U.S. into WWII.
America found itself in the greatest war the world has ever known.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency urged citizens to support the war
effort by buying war bonds, reporting suspicious activities and
participating in patriotic events.
But isn’t airplane travel only for pilots? In 1942,
The J. Walter Thompson Agency began working
with Pan American, making people aware that
traveling in an airplane could be for everyone.
J. Walter Thompson opens an office
in New Delhi, shown here in 1962.
With auto building materials in short supply, the J. Walter
Thompson Agency helped better Ford’s future by creating
the popular slogan, “There’s a Ford in your future.”
The gold standard in gold watches, Rolex joined the
J. Walter Thompson Agency roster. All employees
immediately inquired about the corporate discount.
Rolex remains a client to this day.
Our audience is getting more demanding all the time - it is not a question of talking
down to them. The problem, the opportunity, is to talk far enough up to them.”
The J. Walter Thompson Agency produces and
directs the first one-hour live drama series on TV,
"Kraft Television Theater." Soon after, the beginning
of true regularly programmed television networks
begin; TV ownership explodes as a result.
J. Walter Thompson can handle the truth. In 1947, the
J. Walter Thompson Agency begins working with the
United States Marine Corps, and later creates the
slogan, “The few. The proud. The Marines” in the 1970s.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency established its Television Workshop in 1953
Cheese always looks better in color. In 1953, the
J. Walter Thompson Agency helped Kraft create the
first-ever color television commercials for food.
One of advertising's most beloved figures, Jeremy Bullmore penned his first ad at JWT for Pan Am in 1954 before taking off on a stellar career that landed him as chairman of J. Walter Thompson London. Before retiring in 1987, he helped build some of the UK’s favorite brands, including Parker Pens, Mr Kipling and Guinness, and has been named the most admired man in the industry. Apparently, the Queen agrees. She honored him with a CBE (Commander of the Order of The British Empire). Undoubtedly Bullmore is Adland’s greatest philosopher. But we prefer to call him our godfather.
I was one of the first to espouse television. I did my first telecast back in 1939.”– Dan Seymour
The color bandwagon got more crowded as the
J. Walter Thompson Agency helped Lux Soap air
their first TV ad in color. Soon everyone would be wanting to do it.
LUX continued their celebrity testimonials
campaign well into the 1950s.
In the 1950s, the first commercially available
general-purpose computer, the UNIVAC, was made
available to the public. Soon after, computers were
used for advertising research and planning, and
J. Walter Thompson was an early adopter.
Like anything built on a solid foundation,
J. Walter Thompson’s longest client
relationships have stood the test of time.
A song we’ve all had stuck in our head was born. The
J. Walter Thompson Agency created the iconic “I Wish I
Were an Oscar Mayer Wiener” jingle.
More like 150 years of solitude. Author Gabriel
García Márquez began working at the J. Walter
Thompson Agency in Mexico City.
J. Walter Thompson created the first simultaneous global
launch of a consumer product for Kodak Instamatic.
Everyone started their J’s straight, as the
J. Walter Thompson Agency began working
with Johnson & Johnson.
Kraft sponsored the world's first transoceanic
commercial telecast using satellites in 1965.
In the decade of cool, there was no cooler car than the Ford Mustang. When Ford Motor
Company turned to J. Walter Thompson to help them unleash this wild horse on the roads of
America, the new Mustang became a star. Mustang mania included stories in Newsweek, Time and
even the movie Goldfinger, where James Bond is chased by a white Mustang convertible.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency established the first account planning
department at any agency, under the leadership of Stephen King. No,
not the horror fiction author– but it was scary how fast account
planning became adopted by all ad agencies.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency put a ring on it as
they began working with DeBeers in 1968.
You gotta love a taste you hate. The J. Walter Thompson
Agency turned a negative into a positive with the
“I Hate it but I Love It” campaign for Listerine.
One more glass ceiling was shattered as Charlotte Beers
became the first female Senior VP at J. Walter Thompson,
after being recruited from Uncle Ben’s.
No, it wasn’t shot in a J. Walter Thompson
studio. Man landed on the moon in 1969, a
historic day for everyone.
James Patterson began working at The J.
Walter Thompson Agency. He would go on
to quit his day job and sell a few books.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency casted
iconic actor, director and choreographer
Geoffrey Holder in 7Up’s ad, “Uncola Nuts.”
Who hasn’t gushed over this guy? The
J. Walter Thompson Agency introduced
the Andrex toilet paper puppy.
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 Mike Williams. The
bologna campaign ran through the 1970s in various forms.
This memorable US Marines ad features Charles “Chuck” Taliano
Jr, an American Marine Sergeant and drill instructor. Created by
Wilson A Seibert Jr, a copywriter and creative exec, the ad features
the iconic phrase “The Marines are looking for a few good men.”
J. Walter Thompson Agency Creative Writing Department 1979
The jingle that made all of us want to stay kids.
“I Don’t Want to Grow Up, I’m a Toys“R”Us Kid”
was penned by J. Walter Thompson Agency
Senior Creative Leader Linda Kaplan Thaler.
Let the burger wars begin. Comparative advertising was introduced
for the first time, as the J. Walter Thompson Agency landed the first
blow of the Burger Wars in their campaign for Burger King.
Something about 1984 struck a chord in the ad world.
Apple defined the personal computer with the
introduction of the Macintosh.
A smooth transition was made as Schick began
working with the J. Walter Thompson Agency.
A new boss emerged in 1987, as WPP acquired the J. Walter Thompson
Agency in the first holding company purchase within the ad industry.
J. Walter Thompson decided that, after 123 years, its file cabinets were way too full.
It was time to make room for more stuff. And what better place to do that than at
a great university. Duke University took on JWT CEO Burt Manning’s
challenge of cataloging and archiving J. Walter Thompson’s massive collection of
Thanks to J. Walter Thompson’s contributions, the John W. Hartman Center for
Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University remains the most
comprehensive archive of industry history in the United States.
Smartphones brought new functionality to email and
address books. Motorola called on J. Walter Thompson
to bring its innovative flip phone to market.
In 1991, the internet went live, creating a revolution
that most certainly would not be televised.
In 1994, Sony launched the first gaming console,
PlayStation, foreshadowing the creative possibilities
of what would become a $66 billion industry in 2014.
A yodeler announced the launch of Yahoo email. The backbone of
the Internet was named after the coffee-producing region known as
Java by Sun Microsystems. And J. Walter Thompson launched Web Lab
to connect its international advertising network across the globe.
Bob Jeffrey was named President of J. Walter Thompson
New York. His first order of business is launching digital@jwt.
J. Walter Thompson marched into the
Guinness Book of World Records with the
first global commercial on behalf of Ford,
featuring the powerful voice of teenage
opera star Charlotte Church broadcast
simultaneously on nearly every network
and television channel around the world.
Serena Williams won the first of her 18 Grand Slam victories.
digital@jwt won the digital business for Lipton, setting up
what would become an epic battle pitting the famous puppets
against each other in a Super Bowl activation that had them
duking it out online. That’s brisk, baby.
Merrill Lynch brought Wall Street to
Main Street. J. Walter Thompson brought
them into the living room, launching
Merrill Lynch Online.
Digital@jwt was an early innovator in consumer-
generated content, creating “Suds, Camera, Action!”
Putting a suite of digital editing tools online, fans
cut their own soap operas using footage from the
Lever 2000 soap campaign.
Merrill Lynch asked J. Walter Thompson to help calm both
consumers and the financial markets after the New York
Stock Exchange resumed trading on September 17 with the
largest one-day loss in history.
The world as we knew it would never be the
same after the morning of September 11, 2001.
Friendster anticipated the coming digital social
revolution. Meanwhile, J. Walter Thompson and
De Beers challenged traditional gender roles by
empowering women with the pioneering “Right
Hand Ring” campaign.
When the folks doing the Commodore’s good work
got a headache, they took a Bayer. And when Bayer’s
marketing department needed some relief, they
turned to the Commodore’s folks at J. Walter Thompson.
Vodafone made cell calls as cheap as
those from land lines. J. Walter Thompson
showed how awkward it would be not
to take advantage of that offer.
J. Walter Thompson gave jet bridges a point of view, in one of the most
famous airport campaigns around the world. In the process, we helped
make HSBC one of the most valuable global financial services brands.
Bob Jeffrey was named Chairman and CEO of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide.
Helium balloons. Shaped as missiles. Following a Channel 9 van to highlight their unrivaled
of action programs. Simple concept. Big results.
The campaign by JWT Kuala Lumpur brought home the first-ever Cannes Grand Prix for Malaysia.
J. Walter Thompson invented the television commercial in 1939. Sixty-six
years later, we began creating award-winning content for a new channel
that put consumers in charge of the programming: YouTube.
In Freixinet’s “The Key to Reserva,” Martin
Scorsese and J. Walter Thompson reprised
adman Roger Thornhill from North by
Northwest, while reinventing online
advertising as a medium that audiences
would choose to watch. Very meta.
J. Walter Thompson helped Bruce Lee blow minds
playing table tennis with nunchuks in Nokia’s tribute
to the legendary martial arts master. It was the first
viral sensation out of China.
Wilkinson Sword and J. Walter
Thompson got their online game
on, pitting dads against their
dough-smooth babies for moms’
affections in a Fight for Kisses.
Saturday Night Live famously lampooned
the razor blade wars. J. Walter Thompson
helped Schick® break the cycle in 2010,
launching the first real innovation in years: a
water-activated hydrating gel. And shaving
evolved from hair removal to skin care.
J. Walter Thompson fueled the passion and 60-year
partnership between Shell and Ferrari in an epic lap
through history, laying down rubber from Rome to Rio.
J. Walter Thompson sailed off with Royal Caribbean to chart a new
course at the height of the cruise industry. With more firsts at sea
than any other cruise line, there was only one thing to say: “WOW.”
J. Walter Thompson conducted the first extensive
study of Muslim-American attitudes, revealing that
they feel simultaneously overexposed and invisible
in the American mainstream.
“Making brands famous since 1864.” That’s how J. Walter Thompson opened the
original Mad Men DVD release about advertising in the 1960s. Yup, we were there.
J. Walter Thompson and the Times of India
launched “Lead India” to inspire a new generation,
mobilize the world’s largest democracy, and
challenge politicians, influencers and citizens
to write a new future.
The first African American President of the
United States took office. And Adweek named
J. Walter Thompson Global Agency of the Year.
Yes we can.
Bing launched as the first real alternative to
Google. Microsoft began working with J. Walter
Thompson, the first real alternative to agencies
that had not yet integrated digital natives.
Macy’s aired the animated special “Yes, Virginia” as part of
their Believe holiday campaign. Based on Virginia O’Hanlon’s
1897 letter asking if Santa exists, the program received critical
acclaim and inspired millions of children to mail their letters
to Santa from Macy’s, which donated $1 per letter to the
Nestlé and J. Walter Thompson pioneered a
distribution channel by selling Kit Kat in the newly
privatized Japanese post office. Just write a message
on the innovative packaging and drop it in the mail.
Taking a pen to sign a petition literally opened the cell
of a political prisoner languishing in Burma's notorious
prisons. J. Walter Thompson and Human Rights Watch
collected tens of thousands of signatures to petition
the UN and the world. More
than 150 prisoners have
J. Walter Thompson and Huggies pioneered denim
print diapers, putting some swagger into the Little
Movers product line and becoming #1 in number two.
China was in heaven, winning their first Grand Prix at
Cannes for J. Walter Thompson Shanghai’s Samsonite
“Heaven and Hell.”
Some parties are so epic, people wear them like a
badge. The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project
culminated in one such event. After Smirnoff drinkers
swapped their best nightlife experiences, celebrations
were held simultaneously in 14 countries. And J. Walter
Thompson was there.
In 2011, Apple sold more than
18 million iPhones in the first
JWT and Johnson & Johnson made magic, turning scrapes
into smiles with an augmented reality app that brought
Muppets to life. It goes on to win gold in the first-ever
Cannes Lions mobile category.
For Banco Popular, Puerto Rico’s most famous salsa band rewrote the lyrics to their most iconic hit to extol the virtues of a positive work ethic. The results? A hit that made us want to hit the dance floor even before the campaign won a Cannes Lion Grand Prix – the first one ever for the Caribbean and Central America. Wepa!
Facebook acquired Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Google acquired Motorola, Nest and Waze. J. Walter
Thompson acquired digital agencies Digitaria, Casa and XM.
In Egypt, shops gave low-value items instead of change. Not super-useful.
So Vodafone and J. Walter Thompson introduced a new form of currency
called Fakka, or “small change.” What is Fakka? Micro Vodafone calling cards.
Overnight, small change became huge.
Boldly going where no confectionery has gone before, J. Walter Thompson sends
a Kit Kat to space, to show that even the fearless Felix Baumgartner could use a
break from his record breaking attempt at the highest jump ever.
The same year, Google launched the sweetest
operating system yet for mobile. J. Walter Thompson
convinced the Android team that it should be
named "Kit Kat."
As if it weren't the most delicious year ever, in 2014
Time Magazine named Kit Kat the most influential
candy bar of all time.
The British Territorial Army recruited
J. Walter Thompson to bolster its ranks,
and together we created the first
commercials filmed in an active war zone.
Every day is an opportunity to reinvent tomorrow, and
together with our pioneering
clients, we will continue
to seize that opportunity for the next 150 years.”
Rolex celebrated greatness with the “Icons” campaign. Iconic
Rolex wearers were many, and included Elvis Presley, who adored
his “Rolex King Midas” watch given to him in 1970 by Houston
concert promoters. The King was never again late for a gig.
Rolex accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary when he conquered Everest, and Chuck Yeager
when he broke the sound barrier. To recapture the Rolex passion for adventure, J. Walter
Thompson filmed the Deepest Dive: a documentary airing on National Geographic and the
BBC. As the Trieste descended 7 miles to the ocean floor, a Rolex strapped to the outside
proved its metal.
Global warming brings Spring pollen earlier, and makes it last
longer. But even people with allergies have no idea what they are
allergic to. ZYRTEC® AllergyCast, the first branded allergy app,
teaches them what's making them sneeze and gouge their eyes
After 17 years at J. Walter Thompson, Bob Jeffrey announced that
2014, the year of the agency’s 150th anniversary, would be his last
as Chairman and CEO.
Helen Lansdowne Resor was a true pioneer, the first female
copywriter and a gifted innovator. J. Walter Thompson’s
$250,000 International Scholarship in her name honors all
women in advertising by assisting and promoting talented
female creative advertising students around the world.
Chrissy Amphlett lost her battle with breast cancer. In a
tribute to her fight, Australia's top female vocalists inspired
millions of women when they recorded the Divinyls’ hit
anthem "I Touch Myself" to promote self examination.
Nearly one woman in every five has been sexually assaulted.
Going beyond communications and advocacy, J. Walter
Thompson created the Guardian Angel. It's a pioneering
wearable technology that can defuse a threatening situation.
Humanizing cancer treatment is almost as important as the
treatment itself. With superhero-themed dispensers to
deliver the "super formula" to children, J. Walter Thompson
and A.C. Camargo Cancer Center were able to help the real
superheroes fight their battles.
Brazilians are passionate about barbecue. But
those who are religious about it can literally
cook with pages from The Barbecue Bible
from J. Walter Thompson and Tramontina.
The cricket pitch is 22 yards long. But the most important space is the six
inches between a competitor's ears where the mental game is won. The
Nike anthem from J. Walter Thompson celebrates cricket wherever it is
played, and the intensity of a game in which every yard counts.
J. Walter Thompson celebrates its 150th
even though it doesn’t look a
day over 40.
J. WALTER THOMPSON was an individual who had a unique vision, and the talent to execute
that vision. So it is today, with all the people who make up the company known as J.
Walter Thompson. Everyone who works here, or who has ever worked here, is part of
this legacy. And it wouldn’t have been possible to thrive all these years without your
pioneering spirit leading us into the future. There will be many who join us as we move
forward, building on the foundation that would make our founder, the Commodore,
proud to lend us his name.
Thank you to our pioneering clients for their vision and bravery.
Thank you to our friends at the John W. Hartman Center for Sales,
Advertising & Marketing History, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book &
Manuscript Library, Duke University. Specifically, Jacqueline Reid
Wachholz, the Director, and Joshua Larkin Rowley, Reference Archivist.
They spent countless hours answering our questions and providing us
with the facts, figures and documents that made this timeline possible.
They are the proud protectors of the J. Walter Thompson archives, which
stand alone as the single most complete and informative corporate
record of the history of modern advertising.
Special thanks also to William (Mack) O’Barr, Professor of Cultural
Anthropology, English and Sociology at Duke University, whose in-depth
research of the archives framed the cultural impact of advertising
through the lens of JWT’s history.
Thank you to John Furr, our unofficial historian, who worked at J. Walter
Thompson from 1961 to 2008, which represents a span of roughly
one-third of this timeline.
Photographs by Frank Oudeman / Installation design by MESH
Architectures NYC / Interactive Software by Local Projects
© MOTOROLA, Inc. Legacy Archives Collection
Kraft / Oscar Mayer / Velveeta
Kraft, Miracle Whip, Oscar Mayer and Velveeta materials used with
permission from Kraft Foods.
All trademarks and images are used with permission from Burger King
Corporation. All rights reserved.
Courtesy of General Motors
RICE KRISPIES and SNAP CRACKLE POP are trademarks of Kellogg
North America Company, used with permission.
The trademarks NESTLÉ, KIT KAT, PETER’S, LIBBY’S and STOUFFER’S
are registered trademarks of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey,
Used with permission of Shell