The poet Hart Crane ("The Bridge," "White Buildings") briefly worked as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson in 1923. Another JWT copywriter, John P. Marquand, was fired from the agency, although he used the experience to his advantage, writing about advertising in some of his novels. Mr. Marquand won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1938 for "The Late George Apley."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose all-too-brief career as a novelist nonetheless made him one of the most-revered of 20th century authors, preceded his writing career with a stint in 1919 as a copywriter at the Barron Collier agency, where he wrote copy for ads that appeared in street cars, among other places. He once penned this slogan for an Iowa steam laundry: "We'll keep you clean in Muscatine." Poet Ogden Nash also worked for Barron Collier.
BEGINNING WITH AD COPY
Other noted novelists who cut their teeth on ad copy in New York include Shane Stevens ("Go Down Dead," "By Reason of Insanity," "Jersey Tomatoes") who toiled at Kenyon & Eckhardt, and Joseph Heller ("Catch-22," "Good as Gold"), who worked in advertising promotion at Remington Rand.
Walter Lord, author of "A Night to Remember," a book about the sinking of the Titanic, previously had written house ads for J. Walter Thompson.
Both principals at Benton & Bowles (a forerunner of DMB&B) later left a strong imprint on the world of government and public service. Chester Bowles headed the Office of Price Administration in the Roosevelt administration and the Office of Economic Stabilization during the Truman years. He also served as governor of Connecticut, undersecretary of state and ambassador to India.
SENATOR TO BE
William Benton became an assistant secretary of state in the Truman administration and later a U.S. senator from Connecticut-appointed to an open seat by his former partner, Mr. Bowles, who was then governor.
Another agency principal, Bruce Barton of BBDO, left the agency in 1937, when he was appointed to an unexpired term representing a Manhattan "silk stocking" district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Subsequently he was elected to a full term and later ran unsuccessfully for the Senate.
H.R. (Bob) Haldeman, later a key staff member in the Nixon administration and a central figure in the Watergate scandal, joined J. Walter Thompson in New York as an account executive before moving to the agency's Los Angeles office.
In the worlds of TV and film, advertising alumni also have had an impact. Sylvester (Pat) Weaver, who served as an executive with both Young & Rubicam and McCann-Erickson, gained far greater fame in the television world as head of NBC-TV and, with his creation of the "Today Show" and "Tonight Show," as the father of the magazine concept in TV programming. Another Y&R alumnus, Harry Ackerman, was a TV producer for Screen Gems and CBS before becoming an independent producer. Sitcoms he produced included "Bewitched" and "Hazel."
Fred Gwynne, who moved to TV and movie stardom ("The Munsters," "Car 54, Where Are You?" "Cotton Club," "Fatal Attraction"), worked in J. Walter Thompson's New York office as a copywriter. George Roy Hill, a TV director at JWT, became a noted film director ("Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid," "The Sting," "The World According to Garp").
In 1995, Dick Costello, TBWA Chiat/Day East president-CEO, left the agency after 19 years to become president of MCA's newly formed Universal Strategic Marketing Group, set up to utilize cross-promotional opportunities among the company's film, TV and theme park units.
One former New York agency man whose surname became a household word was George Gallup. He founded Young & Rubicam's research department in the early 1930s, then moved on to start his own research company. He ultimately developed the Gallup Poll, and for decades his name has been synonymous with political and other types of polling in the United States.