Henderson Advertising

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Founded by James Henderson, in Greenville, S.C., 1946; named Advertising Age Agency of the Year, 1979.

Henderson Advertising was created in 1946 by James Henderson in Greenville, S.C., and built its business on Texize (later DowBrands) cleaning brands.

Mr. Henderson began by servicing small retail accounts in the area, but one day got a call from Texize Chemicals, which made an industrial cleaner for area textile mills and wanted to market the product for consumer use. The cleaner became the well-known brand Janitor-in-a-Drum.

Henderson Advertising grew steadily. In 1960, the agency's billings were estimated at $6 million; by 1965, they had increased to $7.3 million The agency refused to accept cigarette accounts, and it focused on training and promoting from within. By 1972, the agency ranked No. 77 in the U.S., with billings of $18.6 million. Mr. Henderson took a leave from the agency to become assistant postmaster general in the administration of President Richard M. Nixon.

Growth throughout the 1970s, '80s and the early '90s led to the opening—and closing—of offices in Atlanta (twice), Charlotte, New Orleans and Chicago. By 1979, when Advertising Age named the shop its Agency of the Year, the agency had increased its billings to $54 million. In 1986, Mr. Henderson sold his interest in the agency to eight Henderson executives; billings stood at nearly $80 million.

The next few years were marked by leadership turmoil, as several executives departed and outsiders were hired. In the mid-1990s approached, Henderson suffered from client defections as well as client consolidations. In 1995, Dow Brands consolidated its work for Fantastik, Glass Plus and Spray 'N Wash, longtime Henderson accounts, at Saatchi & Saatchi. Later that year, the shop lost the $6 million Quincy Steakhouse account, leaving Henderson without two of its largest clients. Mr. Henderson died Oct. 31 at the age of 74. At the time, the shop had $75 million in billings.

In 1999, the agency had about $57 million in billings, although it had shrunk to a single office in South Carolina. In 2003, Henderson ranked No. 205 among U.S. agency brands, with U.S. revenue of $7.8 million, up 2.1% over the year earlier, on billings of $64.7 million.

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