Timeline

INTERNATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

1868

Civil War veteran James Walter Thompson, age 24, gets job as a bookkeeper at Carlton and Smith in New York, an agency that sells space in religious magazines.

1877

James Walter buys the company for *US$1,300, and soon establishes what is believed to be the first creative department.

1897

JWT develops a symbol for the Prudential Insurance Company, the Rock of Gibraltar. It remains in use today.

1900

In the early part of the new century JWT publishes a house ad that includes the term ‘branding,’ – reportedly the first time the term appears in print.

1909

The company hires Helen Lansdowne. She becomes the first woman creative director in the world.

1915

The JWT ad for Woodbury soap, tagged: ‘The skin you love to touch’ causes a furor. It is believed to be the first use of sex to sell a product. It was coined by Lansdowne.

1927

JWT agrees with General Motors to open an office in every country the automaker does business in, in exchange for exclusive rights to its advertising in those markets. Within four years JWT shingles hang in more than 25 countries.

1929

Canadian office is opened (See ‘Canada’ opposite).

1930

In Chicago, JWT develops

a novel promotion vehicle on a highly experimental technology. The first

commercial TV show is beamed to just 48 sets.

1965

JWT U.S. coordinates the launch of the Kodak Instamatic camera

in 27 countries at once, among the earliest

global campaigns.

1987

London-based WPP takes over JWT Global in an era of advertising

mega-mergers.

CANADA

1911

The Canadian patent for J. Walter Thompson is issued in October.

1916

The Canadian rights to the name are sold to Smith, Denne & Moore.

1921

Smith, Denne & Moore goes out of business.

1929

The Canadian JWT office opens in Montreal. The first manager is Robert Flood. Within six months the company has 23 accounts and first-year billings total $760,000.

1930

JWT Canada wins first accounts from Kraft, which remains a client.

1931

Toronto office is opened.

1941

In the depths of World War II, JWT Canada develops and co-ordinates advertising for a ‘Victory Policy’ for Mutual Life of Canada. The

insurance helps families protect against the uncertainty of war.

1961

JWT begins relationship with Unilever, which still remains a client.

1964

Vancouver office is first opened (it would be closed and re-opened several times.)

1970

JWT Canada billings pass $34 million, with up to 75% of its output being homemade. In a speech to the ACA, company president Daniel Seymour laments how universities have become increasingly critical of business. The Sixties counterculture has arrived in Canada.

1977

JWT moves its head office to Toronto after the Parti Québécois wins the

provincial election. (A Montreal office would be opened again in 2000.)

1980

JWT Canada’s profits hit $1.8 million on revenues of $15.8 million, the best in the country. Tony Pigott, current president and CEO, is hired as an

account manager.

1981

JWT lands Kellogg and promotes the domestic launch of Budweiser so successfully, supplies reportedly run out. Annual media spending across the country crests $1 billion.

1982

Despite a recession in North America, JWT Canada’s billings hit $150

million, a newspaper reports.

1985

In February, JWT Canada loses Labatt to Scali McCabe Sloves Canada, after 20 years.

1995

The Philly ‘Angel’ is designed for Kraft in Canada. Seen today in over 30 countries, it’s the second most successful brand icon for Philip Morris, after the Marlboro Man.

1996

Pepsi-Cola Canada ends its 30-year relationship with the company by moving its business to BBDO Canada. Total JWT revenues stand at approximately $13 million, trade observers say.

1997

JWT reorganizes and launches as an integrated advertising agency. Ted Nation, the company’s new president and CEO, vows to end a ‘living-in-the-past attitude.’

1999

Pigott becomes president.

2000

JWT Canada purchases Vancouver-based Go Direct direct-response marketing agency.

2002

Thompson Social, the social-marketing arm of the agency, is launched. The unit presents at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Martin Shewchuk is brought aboard as creative head.