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The Advertising Century

F. Wayland Ayer

Published on .

F. Wayland Ayer
(1848-1923)
N.W. Ayer & Son, Philadelphia

He brought respect and broader influence to the advertising business with his "open contract" policy, whereby clients paid only an agency commission on Ayer-negotiated media rates. The "Son" in N.W. Ayer & Son, he upgraded Ayer to the world's first full-service shop by adding offices in major cities and a new-business department as well as hiring full-time copywriters and artists, all before 1910. He rejected alcoholic beverage and patent medicine accounts in order to build public understanding of advertising. His planning department centralized print media research for clients and prepared the nation's first institutional ad campaigns. Another Ayer innovation: Half-days on Saturdays.

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