Marschalk & Pratt was founded by Harry C. Marschalk in New York in 1923. Mr. Marschalk served as president until 1954, when the agency merged with McCann-Erickson; at that time, he became chairman of the division, and S.L. Meulendyke, who had been an exec VP, became the agency's president.
Marschalk & Pratt, which then billed about $6 million, brought its specialized knowledge of industrial and business advertising to the union, while McCann-Erickson's central research and TV and radio departments benefited Marschalk
The agency operated under its original name until 1960, when it became McCann-Marschalk with the creation of Interpublic Inc., which in 1964 became the Interpublic Group of Cos. Stuart Watson served as chairman of the new McCann-Marschalk and Mr. Meulendyke was vice chairman. William E. McKeachie assumed the presidency and Mr. Marschalk acted as honorary chairman until he retired in 1964. McCann-Marschalk specialized in advertising for growth companies and had six offices in the U.S. and four abroad. Agency billings grew from about $20 million in 1957 to more than $56 million in 1965.
In 1965, Interpublic made it a separate agency under the name Marschalk Co., with offices in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus. F. William Free became president and Mr. Watson continued as chairman-CEO. (The name change was spurred by Interpublic's desire to emphasize the separateness and competitiveness of its affiliates.)
As a result of Interpublic's merger of agency Fletcher Richards with Marschalk in 1967, Marschalk picked up $5 million in Heublein Inc. billings. Mr. Watson, who had left Marschalk as its chairman, was Heublein's president at the time. The agency merger was seen as a way for Interpublic to economize; a similar change occurred the following year, when Johnstone Inc., another Interpublic agency, became a division of Marschalk.
The late 1960s were a time of executive turmoil and account losses for the agency. In August 1969, John G. Avrett became the fourth person to be named Marschalk president within 18 months. He succeeded Paul Caravatt, chairman-CEO, who had added the title of president in December 1968 after Richard Bowman was quietly reassigned to a senior VP post at Interpublic.
Mr. Bowman had held the presidency since February 1968, replacing Mr. Free, who left to form his own agency. The leadership changes occurred at the same time that the agency lost several accounts, which totaled $5 million in billings. These losses included International Nickel Co., which had been at Marschalk for 40 years.
In 1970, Willard C. Mackey Jr. succeeded Mr. Caravatt as chairman and later became president. For the previous two years, Mr. Mackey had been international director of marketing for Coca-Cola, a major Marschalk client, but before that he had worked for both McCann-Erickson and Marschalk. Mr. Mackey was responsible for several internal changes at Marschalk, including the creation of a new key management position, general manager (filled by Robert James, who became chairman and president in 1976); an organizational switch from a creative director to creative teams; and a management advisory committee.
During the 1970s, Marschalk did significant work for Mutual of New York, including a life insurance campaign that was among the first to candidly discuss death, as well as for Gillette and its Foamy and Trac II shaving creams and Earth Born shampoos. But the agency also lost the accounts of Coca-Cola's Fresca, Tab and Hi-C beverages, while Dutch Boy paints left after 43 years with Marschalk. By the mid-1970s, the agency was reduced to offices in Cleveland and New York.
Michael S. Lesser was chairman and Andrew J. Langer was president in 1981 when Marschalk became a division of Marschalk Campbell-Ewald Worldwide, a subsidiary of Interpublic. In 1983, Marschalk Co. acquired Houston-based Metzdorf Advertising, which gave the agency a presence in the Midwest and West Coast markets. That year, Marschalk's creative work also got attention for its Alex the dog TV spots for Stroh's beer.
In 1985, Interpublic created Lowe Marschalk Worldwide, based in the U.K., to replace U.S.-based Marschalk Campbell-Ewald Worldwide. Marschalk Co., with 1985 billings of $300 million, was the largest agency in the new group. By 1987, the agency's offices in Cleveland, Houston, New York and San Francisco sported another name-Lowe Marschalk-but top management remained the same. In 1990, the Marschalk name disappeared as the agency became Lowe & Partners.