The Advertising Century

J. Walter Thompson

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J. Walter Thompson
(1847-1928)
J. Walter Thompson Co, New York

In 1867, Massachusetts native Thompson, known as the Commodore, joined Carlton & Smith, New York, as a space rep for religious magazines. After buying C&S in 1878, he acquired exclusive control of ad space and began creating ads. On becoming a major women's market resource, in 1886 he put his own name on the agency's door. Thompson introduced testimonial ads, pioneered census-based demographic and economic research that added scientific overtones to the industry, coined the phrase "It pays to advertise" and devised the account executive concept. However, with his account people controlling creative work, JWT's growth began to lag rivals' by 1900. In 1916, he sold JWT to Stanley Resor.