The JWT Account Files is an artificially-created collection of information about client accounts held by the JWT and provides information about JWT's management of its advertising campaigns. Additionally, the files document deliberations about such topics as media selection; markets and marketing; and target audience for individual advertising campaigns. The bulk of the materials, especially the older records, document clients managed by JWT's New York Office, but the work of other offices is also represented, including: Atlanta Office (Marine Corps); Chicago Office (Oscar Mayer, Kraft); Detroit Office (Ford); and San Francisco Office (Sprint). The collection includes account histories; research reports; memoranda; correspondence; printed material; clippings; brochures and pamphlets; product labels and packaging designs; original artwork and advertising proofs; slides; photographs; audiocassettes and videocassettes. Clients represented include Eastman Kodak; Ford; Ford Dealer Association; R.T. French; General Cigar; Hamm's beer; Handy Andy; International Banana Association; IBM; Kellogg; Kraft; Quaker Oats; U.S. Marine Corps; US Sprint; Warner Lambert; White Castle; and the 1964 World's Fair. More limited materials are available for other significant JWT clients, including: Burger King; Champion Spark Plug; Domino's Pizza; Lever Brothers; Northern Telecom; Oscar Mayer; Rolex; Standard Brands; and Scott Paper.
The J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) evaluated its progress through a systematic study of the performance of its client accounts. Among the tools used to gauge the success of advertising campaigns and the health of ongoing client relationships were the compilation of account histories. The earliest surviving efforts by JWT to document its account relationships include approximately one hundred account histories collected from 1925-1926 by the Business Extension Department. The histories were prepared largely by Henry C. Miner, Jr. (JWT employee, 1925-1933) under the direction of Rae H. Smith (then a Representative and later Vice President and Director). From the 1920s through the 1940s, JWT New York Office's Department of Information and Records compiled records particularly on New York Office clients, including account histories, label and packaging designs and other printed materials. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the New York Office Information Center collected newspaper and magazine clippings, inter-office memoranda, research reports, and publications for various clients. This practice continued through the 1980s.
In addition to such institutional record-keeping practices, from the 1930s through the 1950s, individual staff members also compiled account records, which were then transferred to the Information Center of the New York Office. Howard Henderson, Vice President and Manager of the Cincinnati Office, gathered correspondence, memoranda, and reports regarding three clients: Chesebrough-Pond's, General Cigar Company, and the United States Playing Card Company. John Monsarrat, a JWT Executive Vice President and Director, provided material for the Chesebrough-Pond's account file. Another JWT Vice President, William C. McKeehan, provided further material about the United States Playing Card Company account in the 1950s.
Processed by Richard Collier, Caitlin Harding, Ashley Urquhart, Thomas LaPorte, Katherine Rose, Jessica Wood March 2007
Encoded by Richard Collier, Caitlin Harding, Ashley Urquhart, Jessica Wood
Completed November 2009
Materials from accessions 93-015, 93-018, 93-028, 93-029, 93-033, 93-041, 93-059, 93-083, 93-099, 93-100, 93-149, 93-248, 94-110, 95-127, 96-071, 96-074, 96-161, 97-069, 97-072, 97-088, 97-096, 97-109, 97-203, 97-217, 97-219, 97-284, 98-219, 98-230, 98-383, 98-407, 98-530, 99-298, 99-385, 99-386, 01-216, 01-214, 02-133, 02-139, 02-199, 02-200, 02-202, 03-233, 03-257, 04-023, 04-028, 04-042, 04-064, 04-317, 2005-0053, 2005-0096, 2006-0088, 2007-0040, 2007-0056, 2007-0101, 2007-0102, 2007-0106, 2007-0184, 2007-0185 and 2009-0156 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.