J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office. George Black papers, 1968-1989

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J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office
39 Linear Feet
29,250 Items
Approximately 60% of the collection is in English and the remainder is in German, except for small portions in Danish, Dutch, French, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
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Scope and content:

The papers of George Black, former advertising executive of the J. Walter Thompson Company, span the years 1968 to 1989, with the bulk of the material dating from 1972 to 1988. The papers document Black's activities during his tenure as Creative Department Head in the 1970's and then as Chairman of JWT-Frankfurt from 1976 to 1988. During the 1980's, Black presided over an expansion of business in the German Speaking Area (GSA) which included the opening of new offices in Hamburg and Düsseldorf; the establishment of JWT divisions for pharmaceutical advertising (Deltakos) and direct marketing (JWT-Direkt); and the British WPP Group's leveraged buyout of JWT in 1987. General trends and events reflected in the papers include the increasing globalization of clients and markets, the world energy and financial crises of the 1970's, JWT's international expansion and business management worldwide. Specific topics documented include ethical and legal issues surrounding children and advertising in Germany; the production of film and print advertisements for current and prospective clients; Black's membership in professional organizations such as European Association of Advertising Agencies (EAAA) and the Art Directors Club of Germany; Black's participation in JWT international strategic planning groups, with emphasis on Europe and the GSA; promotions and management changes within JWT; and special events and seminars for JWT international staff and clients. The collection consists of correspondence, memoranda, manuscripts, reports, photographs, press releases, speeches, overhead transparencies, agendas, invoices and receipts, contracts, newsletters, articles, advertisements, and collateral literature. Correspondents in the collection include media and management consultants, artists and producers, current and prospective clients, persons affiliated with various agencies, publications, and organizations, and JWT executives such as David Campbell-Harris (JWT-Milan), Jack Cronin (JWT-New York), Peter Horak (JWT-Zürich), Don Johnston (JWT-New York), Denis Lanigan (JWT-London), Eilika Schmidt-Roessler (JWT-Brussels), Alfred Tiefenbrunner (JWT-Vienna), and Hakan Verner-Carlsson (JWT-Stockholm). Clients well-documented in the collection include Braun, Campari, DeBeers, Elida Gibbs, Ford, Jacobs, Kellogg, Kraft, Lever-Sunlicht (Unilever), Nestle, Singer, Pepsi, Warner-Lambert, and Wick.

Approximately 60% of the collection is in English and the remainder is in German, except for small portions in Danish, Dutch, French, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

The Other JWT Offices Series documents the coordination of operations between the Frankfurt Office and 40 other JWT offices and subsidiaries worldwide. Communications with JWT's London and New York offices account for the bulk of the correspondence files. Topics include long-term account planning for individual clients, regional strategy planning for Scandinavia and for the GSA, comparison of international advertising styles and regulations, and JWT worldwide executive promotions and organizational changes. Issues specifically noted in the series include a 1979 International Conference on Public Service Advertising, strategies for dealing with the 1970s oil crisis, art buying, improving multinational management and marketing techniques, "JWT Learning Tape Series" training videos for international JWT offices, restructuring of JWT's pharmaceutical advertising subsidiary Deltakos, leadership and performance problems in JWT's Zurich Office, and Denis Lanigan's (JWT-London) push to develop strict financial goals for the company following the financial downturn in the mid-1970s.

Correspondents in the Other JWT Offices Series include Denis Lanigan (London Office); Harry Clark, Don Johnston, Burt Manning, and Eugene Secunda (New York Office); Albert Brouwet (JWT-Brussels), Glen Fortinberry (JWT-Detroit), Peter Horak (JWT-Zurich), and Alfred Tiefenbrunner (JWT-Vienna). Clients and prospective accounts mentioned in this series include Bacardi, Braun AG, Brown and Williamson Tobacco, Burger King, Deutsche Bank, Ford, Levi-Strauss, Jacobs, Kraft, Nestle, Maggi, Pepsico, Singer, and Unilever. See also the German Speaking Area Series for related material on the Zurich and Vienna Offices.

The German Speaking Area Series documents the operations of J. Walter Thompson AG (Aktien Gesellschaft, a company offering public stock) in the three-country area of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Topics covered in the series include finding appropriate management of the Zurich office, remuneration for work done between GSA offices, new business targets, and formal reporting requirements for operating results of the three offices. The series also includes minutes of the general meetings of the GSA Verwaltungsrat, of which Black was president; monthly and annual assessments of the Frankfurt, Zurich, and Vienna offices; and internal audit reports of the Zurich office. Correspondents include Alfred Tiefenbrunner (JWT-Vienna), Jack Cronin (JWT-Europe), Peter Horak (JWT-Zurich), Swiss legal consultant Lelio Vieli, management consultant John Stork, and Denis Lanigan (JWT-London). Clients mentioned include Elida, Ford, and Jacobs. For related material on the Zurich and Vienna Offices, see also the Other JWT Offices Series.

The Clients Series documents all aspects of JWT's day-to-day work for and communication with clients. In particular, the series discusses market research and strategy, media planning, the JWT "T-Plan," product development, packaging guidelines, conflicts among international JWT clients, agency compensation, corporate identity and umbrella campaigns, and the production of advertisements. The series also contains Corporate Image Advertising campaigns for Braun, Kraft, Rolex (featuring Yehudi Menuhin), and other major multinational clients; the highly successful "Campari: Was Sonst?" campaign launched in 1980. Particular items contained in the series include 1973 T-Plans for "Pepsi Generation" advertising; 1973 memos on "Slice of Life" advertising for Sunlicht; 1973-1974 information on Ford, including international press coverage of the Ford strike in Great Britain, and an extensive memo on Ford-JWT conflicts over proposed strategies for Europe. Other well-documented accounts in the series include Burger King, DeBeers, Deutsche Bank, Jacobs, and Kellogg.

The New Business Series materials document Frankfurt's strategies to acquire new clients and new product accounts. The series includes both successful and unsuccessful new business presentations for companies including Braemar, Elida-Gibbs, Nestle, and Pepsico. Specific documents in the series include a 1974 report entitled "Bausparkassen und Banken: die wichtigsten Etats" (Savings & Loans and Banks: The Most Important Accounts") on the growing importance of the banking industry; a 1976 "Aligned Client List" including multinationals such as Ford, Gillette, Kellogg, Kodak, and Unilever; and a report on Nestle's 1976 legal case with the Third World Working Committee.

The Meetings Series documents the meetings of various JWT executive committees. Specific meetings include the European Managers Meeting, European Planning Group, JWT Operating Committee, and Worldwide Managers. In 1978 the European Management Group (EMG) changed its name to the European Planning Group (EPG). The series also contains a 1978 Status Report for Ford of Europe.

The JWT Allgemein Series pertains to the day-to-day operations and projects of the Frankfurt Office. The series documents visitors, special events, talks, promotions and reorganizations, Directors Meetings, publicity, Black's membership in professional organizations such as the Art Directors Club for Germany and the GWA (Gesellschaft-Werbeagenturen), and meetings and conferences attended by Black. Also found in this series is a 1974 interview with Peter Gilow about the use of freelance graphic designers in large agencies; articles documenting creative trends in advertising; information on art buying; a 1976 strategy evaluation entitled "Expose zum Thompson T-Plan;" a 1974 memo on the introduction of cable television to Germany; information on procedural matters such as hiring consultants, and departmental and creative unit restructurings. A wide range of clients, products, and individual advertisements are mentioned in this series. For related material, see also the Memoranda/Haus-Mitteilungen Series.

The Memoranda/Haus-Mitteilungen Series documents the daily operations of the Frankfurt Office. It includes 1973 lists of clients and of JWT subsidiaries; New Business Presentation guidelines; and information on the 1977 celebration of JWT-Frankfurt's 25th anniversary. For related material, see also the JWT Allgemein Series.

The Creative Department Series documents the activities of JWT-Frankfurt's Creative Department and its own production division, FFF-Produktion during Black's tenure as Creative Director from 1971 to 1974. The materials inform on legal restrictions on radio advertising; market and media research; the impact of consumerism and profits on advertising trends; public debates on the role of advertising in Germany's market economy resulting from the 1974 Hamburg "Kongress der Werbung" ("Advertising Congress"); and advertising awards and festivals. It also contains information on the contracting of freelance artists and photographers ("Art Buying"), casting decisions and other aspects of television advertisement production, and the assignment of Creative Units personnel and accounts. Correspondents in this series include various studios, producers, and agencies; in-house communications between Black, Wilfried Henkel, Jack Rorem (FFF), W. Rommel (head of FFF), Eilika Schmidt-Roessler, Peter Gilow, and Manfred Ostwald; and external correspondence with other JWT executives David Campbell-Harris (Milan) and Alfred Tiefenbrunner (Vienna). Clients mentioned in the series include DeBeers, Elida, Jacobs, Kellogg's, Kraft, Pepsi and Wick.

The Correspondence Series documents management and organizational changes in the Frankfurt Office in the years 1976-1977, most notably George Black's transition from Creative Department Head to Chairman of the Frankfurt Office. The series also contains some documents pertaining to Peter Gilow's retirement from JWT and Wilfried Henkel's promotion to the position of "Geschäftsführer" (General Manager). Correspondents include clients such as Braun, Glücksklee, Kraft, Pan Am and Unilever; other agencies such as Lintas and Richardson-Merrell; and JWT executives Herbert Brungs, Harry Clark, Peter Gilow, Wilfried Henkel and Don Johnston.

The Farewell Series pertains to the planning and celebration of official retirement parties and special commemorations for JWT-Frankfurt's senior executives. Executives honored include Peter Gilow in 1978 and Denis Lanigan in 1980. The Gilow material includes microfilm of an Ullstein Verlag exhibit containing German ads from the 1920's through the 1940's.

The Organizations Series contains materials resulting from Black's membership in organizations during the 1970's and early 1980's. Black served on the Technical Working Group of Sodepax in 1971-1972. Sodepax's activities included public awareness campaigns for government support of international development and environmental protection. From 1978-1982 Black maintained membership in the professional organization European Association of Advertising Agencies (EAAA). Correspondents in the series include Vic Henny and Rev. Charles Elliott (Sodepax), and Tom Sutton (JWT).

The Seminars Series details seminars and workshops for JWT employees. Seminars specifically documented in the series include Advertising Age, Creative Directors, and Samuel Meek. The series contains information on JWT's Campari campaign (Advertising Age Seminar, 1976) and types of advertising, including the "product as hero," "product demonstration," and "slice of life" approaches (Marketing Week Seminar, 1978).

The Writings and Speeches Series contains speeches and writings either given by Black or retained by him for reference or other purposes. The series includes speeches given by Kraft and JWT executives at Burgenstock Conferences held in Switzerland in the 1960's. Specific speeches by Black include "The T-Plan" in German and English from 1968; an untitled speech on the "Generation Gap" and advertising from 1969; and "Creative Objectives" from 1970. Other speeches include "The German Consumer," by Black and Wally O'Brien, "Advertising: The Most Public Kind of Responsibility," by Norman H. Strouse, and a "JWT Image Paper" from the Seminar on New Business. The series also contains the speech "Insurance Advertising All Over the World," authored by a JWT-Frankfurt executive in 1971 that is illustrated with advertisements from 12 international JWT offices.

The Acquisitions Series contains materials used in negotiations for acquisition of subsidiary agencies internationally. Includes details of offers, research into the pharmaceutical market, and a 1978 Operating Report from Euro-Advertising.

The Other JWT Offices Series, Restricted, contains information on the 1981 founding of the "Thompson Recruitment" and "Corporate Communications" subsidiaries; the extension of the Nordic markets to Norway and Finland in the mid-1980s; and management of the Vienna Office in the mid-1980s. Specific items in this portion of the series include a 1981 letter from Wayne Fickinger outlining the history of JWT-Frankfurt's market research subsidiaries "Basis Research" and "Market Research Bureau International;" a 1980 "Worldwide Client Alignment List," a 1984 article offprint from "Television/Radio Age," entitled "JWT New York is suddenly a 'hot' creative shop;" the speech "Environmental Forces" given by EAAA Director Ron Beatson at JWT-Zurich in 1988; and Annual Reports of J. Walter Thompson AG issued from the "Generalversammlungen" held in Zurich.

The German Speaking Area Series, Restricted, contains information on account retention and operating and marketing plans and includes Three-Year-Plans, Marketing Plans for Frankfurt and Germany, Operations Reports for Europe, information on account gains and losses, and a bound brochure of the 1987 "Strategy and Policy Statement for the Frankfurt Office with a Brief Overview of the German Operation."

The Clients Series, Restricted, contains account histories for Jacobs and Wick; corporate client newsletters for Kraft; consumer profiles of the "Marlboro Man" and "Camel Man" for R.J.R. Reynolds; reports on outdoor advertising in Germany and Spain; a 1983 interview with Klaus Jacobs; a detailed memo on the JWT Management Development Program (in 1984 Jacobs file); a Don Johnston speech on "Marketing in the Global Village" delivered to Jacobs Suchard AG management in 1984; and a document commissioned in 1985 by JWT for Ford entitled, "Psycho-Analyse der Autowerbung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" ("Psychoanalysis of Automobile Advertising in the Federal Republic of Germany") linking German national character to automobile advertising. Specific events documented in the series include the 1981 merging of Ford's European and German JWT accounts; the 1985 loss of the Harley-Davidson account; and the 1987 merger of Jacobs and Suchard and resulting conflicts internationally with JWT's Nestle accounts. Other well-documented clients in the Clients Series, Restricted, include Campari, Elida, Kellogg, Rustenberg, Texaco, and Unilever. At the end of the series are two Account Planning folders detailing the introduction of new advertising concepts at JWT in the 1980's.

The Client Development & Agency Evaluation Series, Restricted, documents the establishment of a formalized system of planned evaluations of JWT's major multinational clients for the purposes of client retention and monitoring communication between agency and client. Among the correspondents in the series are Michael Cooper-Evans, Jack Cronin, and Christian Grupe (JWT-Europe); and Burkhard Schwarz (JWT-Frankfurt). Specific items in the series include policy statements outlining the role and purpose of the program, reporting requirements and evaluations, and an internal report on JWT's 1986 loss of the Ford account. Other clients mentioned in the series include Burger King, De Beers, Johnson Wax, Kellogg, Kraft, Mattel, Nestle, Pepsi, Philips, Reynolds, Rolex, Unilever and Warner Lambert.

The New Business Series, Restricted, contains annual lists of international gains and losses; a 1985 detailed letter written by Black analyzing the style of JWT's immensely successful Bacardi and Campari campaigns; and a 1987 article on Nestle in the United Kingdom. Other new business prospects mentioned in the restricted portion of the series include Green Giant, 3M, and Rotring.

The Meetings Series, Restricted, contains materials pertaining to the meetings of the Advertising Management Group (AMG), Creative Planning Board, European Managers Meeting (EMM), EROC (European Region Operating Committee), GL (Geschäftsleitung), New York Board of JWT Company, Operating Committee (OC) of JWT-Frankfurt, and the Professional Development Group (PDG). Items of specific note in the restricted portion of the series include a fax copy of the writing "JWT - Some Unconventional Wisdoms" (in AMG Correspondence); a report on "Choice of Media" and JWT Media Service International; and Black's 1982 speech to the European Managers entitled "Growing with an Existing Client: Ford in Europe." Correspondents include Harry Clark (JWT-New York), Elvira Bruhnsen-Cohen, Jack Cronin (JWT-New York), and Stephen King (JWT-London). Other clients mentioned include Kelloggs, and Warner Lambert.

The JWT Allgemein Series, Restricted, contains information on outdoor advertising in Germany and Greece (in 1981 Correspondence), on film production in Germany, and on the introduction of new media technologies such as scanners and computers. Specific items contained in the restricted portion include a 1981 "Campaign Europe" article on "Why advertisers fail to take advantage of radio's potential," and a 1982 Advertising Age FOCUS cover story, "JWT wakes up in Germany."

The Memoranda/Hausmitteilungen Series, Restricted, contains information on the founding of a JWT archive for radio advertisements in 1984; JWT's clients, its consultants, and its subsidiaries; the introduction of computers into JWT's offices; and the production of house publications such as "Portrait" and "JWT Special;" and Black's speaking tour to Chile, Argentina and Brazil in May, 1987. Specific items in this portion of the series include holiday cards and address lists for JWT clients and staff; 1984 video and tape scripts of house/corporate ads detailing JWT's relationship to Bacardi and other clients; invitations to conferences, contests and speaking engagements; reports and Jury information for the Art Directors Club of Germany Awards; and extensive articles from trade publications on the 1987 leveraged buyout of JWT by the British-based multinational marketing services firm WPP Group. Speeches by Black include the 1987 speech "Communication and its Function" given at the American College of Switzerland, and "Radio: Der Kontakt zum inneren Auge" ("Radio: The Link to the Inner Eye") held at the ARD WerbeTreff in 1988.

The Personnel Series documents applicants, current employees, consultants, and unit staff on individual accounts. Clients mentioned in the series include Bacardi, Burger King, Campari, Ford, Jacobs, Kellogg, Kraft and Wick.

The Farewell Series, Restricted, documents George Black's 1981 appointment to the Board, his 30th anniversary at JWT in 1984, and his retirement in 1988; Peter Gilow's 70th birthday in 1988; and Denis Lanigan's retirement in 1986.

The Presse/Articles Series comprises materials by or about George Black that document his advertising philosophies and events in his professional life as well as biographical information. The articles stem from a variety of German and English language trade publications in the field of advertising and business, such as "A + I," "Copy," "Handelsblatt," "Horizont," "Der Kontakter," "New Business," "Porentief," "Text Intern," and "Werben und Verkaufen," as well as mainstream German magazines and newspapers such as "FAZ" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and "Stern." Black wrote articles on advertising attitudes and regulations in Germany for the magazine of the American Chamber of Commerce(1988); on the Pepsi Challenge Campaign for "Werben & Verkaufen"(1988); and a tribute to Jeremy Bullmore on his retirement (1988). Specific titles by Black include: "Wie originell ist die deutsche Printwerbung?" ("How original is German print advertising?") (1987); "Power Brands - Oder: Die Realität subjektiver Werte" ("Power Brands, or: the Reality of Subjective Values"), written for "Der Spiegel" (1988); and "Corporate Identity: A definite need for communications," written for "Commerce in Germany" (1980).

The Organizations Series, Restricted, contains materials pertaining to advertising aimed at and employing children which was strictly regulated under German law.

The Seminars Series, Restricted, documents the Noordwijk-James Webb Young seminars in basic advertising training for JWT international staff, and the JWT-International Creative Forum.

The Writings & Speeches Series, Restricted, contains index lists of a collection of speeches by JWT executives other than Black which he retained in his office, dating from 1968 to 1987. The speeches themselves have been transferred to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives Writings and Speeches Collection. The series also contains the 1983 "Interim List of Materials Available in the Management Resource Center."

The Acquisitions Series, Restricted, documents acquisitions and prospects for acquisition in Germany, Britain, Austria, France, Holland, Sweden, and the U.S. It includes a 1980 report on the acquisition of Die Werbe Wien GmbH, and information on the acquisitions of the Stein Schjaerven AB agency in Stockholm in 1980, and the Getas research firm in 1981.

The Subsidiaries & Divisions Series contains materials related to activities in J. Walter Thompson AG's divisions and subsidiaries. Agencies, design, and research firms mentioned in the series include Basisresearch, JWT Corporate Communications, Deltakos, JWT Direct, JWT-Düsseldorf, JWT-Hamburg, Hill & Knowlton, Proservice, and T&A. Events documented include the 1979 reorganization of JWT's pharmaceutical division Deltakos, the 1988 sale of Proservice, and the 1983 restructuring of Hill & Knowlton. Specific items include a report on "Direct Marketing as portrayed in JWT/WPP brochures," the "Magna Karta For Hill And Knowlton Germany" from 1983, and the Proservice Sale Agreement from 1988.

The Finance Series documents company billings worldwide, internal financial reorganizing, and operating expenses. Specifically documented is the 1983 financial reorganization of the J. Walter Thompson Company.

For related material, see other collections in the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, especially the papers of other Frankfurt office executives, the Frankfurt Advertisements Collection, the JWT Newsletter Collection, JWT Writings and Speeches Collection, and the Frankfurt Film Video Collection.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
1928 August 28
George Malcolm Black born in Crescent City, California
Earned Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Stanford University
Employed by Time, Inc.
Served in the United States Air Force as Russian Language Specialist
Started as Media Planner and Buyer at J. Walter Thompson's San Francisco Office
Moved to JWT's New York Office as International Account Representative
Transferred to JWT's Frankfurt Office as Account Director
Named Creative Director of JWT-Frankfurt
Prepared and Opened JWT's Zurich Office
Made Managing Director of JWT-Antwerp
Returned to JWT-Frankfurt to coordinate European Kraft Accounts
Named Executive Creative Director of JWT-Frankfurt
Appointed Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of JWT's Frankfurt Office
Made Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JWT-Frankfurt
Appointed to Board of Directors of JWT's parent company
Retired from J. Walter Thompson Company

George Black and his wife Bibi currently reside in Monells, Spain.

Acquisition information:
The George Black Papers were transferred to the Special Collections Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) Frankfurt Office in 1995. Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from J. Walter Thompson GmbH (JWT's Frankfurt Office), the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund, and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.
Processing information:

Processed by Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

Completed August 1997

Encoded by Lisa Stark

The original organization of the material has been retained in large part. The only change that was made was to break up the strictly chronological arrangement of all records by business year so that the individual series could be brought together and would cover the entire range of years for which records exist. The client names have also been retained according to the filing system of the Frankfurt Office. Although Lever-Sunlicht is a 100% subsidiary of Unilever, some of JWT-Frankfurt's correspondence with this client is filed under "L" or "S"and not "U." Similarly Eastman Kodak Company is referred to in correspondence as "Kodak," and is filed under "K." Advertisements have been photocopied, and originals have been transferred to the Frankfurt Advertisement collection. Newsletters from JWT offices other than Frankfurt have been transferred to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives Newsletter Collection. The majority of speeches and writings by JWT authors, other than Black, have been transferred to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives Writings and Speeches Collection.

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Access to some portions of the George Black Papers is restricted. Personnel and finance files are closed until 2037.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item]. J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office. George Black Papers, 1968-1989. The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.