J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office. Peter Gilow papers, 1960-1978

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J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office
28.7 Linear Feet
circa 17,250 Items
English, and German.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The papers of Peter Gilow, former advertising executive of the J. Walter Thompson Company, span the years 1960 to 1978, with the bulk of the material dating from 1962 to 1977. The papers document the development of the J. Walter Thompson Company's Frankfurt Office (J. Walter Thompson GmbH). Specifically covered are the developments in and transformation of German advertising since the end of World War II in television, radio, and print, the emergence of a European Market, attempts to coordinate efforts among all JWT European offices, and the establishment of public service advertising and organizations that represent advertising agencies in Germany. The papers consist of correspondence, telexes, memoranda, notes, reports, charts, scripts, clippings, and printed materials. Clients of the company represented in the collection include Brinkmann, Burger King, DeBeers, Dunlop, Findus, Ford, Intercontinental Hotels Corp., Kraft, Kellogg, Lever-Sunlicht, Maggi, Nestle, Pan American Airways, Warner-Lambert, and others. Correspondents include clients and executives from other JWT offices such as David Campbell-Harris, Constance B. Ivie, Don Johnston, Denis Lanigan, Jens von Leutzendorff, René Müller, Dan Seymour, Alex Späth, Thomas Sutton, Neil Walker, and Edward G. Wilson. Other correspondents are affiliated with Benton and Bowles, Franz Burda, Deltakos Division, GWA, Harbridge House Europe, Hax-Arbeitskreis, Heumann Werbegesellschaft, Managers' Meeting, Marketing Club, and Young and Rubicam. Approximately half of the collection is in English and the remainder is in German. The German language predominates in the Correspondence Series, the Organizations Series, the Memoranda Series, and the Account Poll Series; however, the English language predominates in the Other JWT Offices Series, the Meetings Series, the Annual Management Series, and the Manager's Monthly Assessment Series.

The History Series consists of four typescripts prepared and used in the solicitation of new business. These manuscripts provide an overview of the Frankfurt Office. They contain information on JWT's working philosophy, the Thompson system, training of employees, the group system, and JWT's international cooperation.

The Correspondence Series documents the early days of the JWT Frankfurt Office. It contains information on the acquisition of major accounts such as Kraft and Ford, materials on the purpose of the GWA (Gesellschaft Werbeagenturen), the German equivalent of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and materials such as the "Tarrytown transcript" that provide a glimpse of the agency's relationships with the German government and discusses the ethics that need to be observed by advertising agencies in Germany in order to remain a competitor for government assignments (1972). Also in 1972, Peter Gilow reported in detail on the Managers' Meeting in London about social legislation in Germany and its effects on the advertising industry. Correspondents include persons affiliated with Benton and Bowles, Franz Burda, Deltakos Division, GWA, Harbridge House Europe, Hax-Arbeitskreis, Heumann Werbegesellschaft, Managers' Meeting, Marketing Club, and Young and Rubicam.

The Other J. Walter Thompson Offices Series is comprised primarily of correspondence between Peter Gilow and the heads of the J. Walter Thompson Company's international offices. The majority of Items relate to the offices in London, Milan, New York, Stockholm, Vienna and Zurich. The communication with New York provides general insight into JWT-policies on research and product development and in particular the ups and downs of Frankfurt's business. The correspondence with the London Office reflects its function as the coordinator of all European JWT offices, and provides an exchange of memoranda and reports about account gains and losses, issues with international clients, new business campaigns, changes in personnel, and developments in legal and financial conditions of several European countries. As Chairman and CEO of the German speaking area, Gilow was involved in all major developments concerning clients, finances, and staff in JWT's Vienna and Zurich offices. Gilow's correspondence with Vienna and Zurich documents the difficulties in establishing new advertising offices in the highly competitive market of the German speaking area. Correspondents include David Campbell-Harris (Milan), Constance B. Ivie (New York), Don Johnston (London and New York), Denis Lanigan (London), Jens von Leutzendorff (Vienna), René Müller (Zurich), Dan Seymour (New York), Alex Späth (Vienna), Thomas Sutton (New York and Zurich), Neil Walker (London), and Edward G. Wilson (New York). Major clients represented include Braun, Ford, Gillette, Jacobs Kaffee, Kelloggs, Kraft, Longines, Nestlé, Pepsi Cola, Unilever, and Wrigley.

The Clients Series documents JWT's day-to-day work for its clients; the development of campaigns and the production of advertisements; campaign presentations; and marketing schemes used by JWT. Clients include Brinkmann, Burroughs, Dunlop, Findus, Ford, Kellogg, Kraft, Maggi/Nestle, Nicolaus, Pan Am, Sunlicht, Triumph, Wick, and Williams. Especially well documented is JWT-Frankfurt's relationship with Ford. After representing Ford for 13 years, JWT Frankfurt lost the account in 1967 to a small Swiss advertising firm. The collected material includes a large number of newspaper clippings that trace the response in the public media and advertising industry to the Ford decision and provide insight into the overall position and reputation of JWT in Germany. The continuing correspondence with this former client shows JWT-Frankfurt's efforts that led to regaining the Ford account in 1969.

The New Business Series provides insight into JWT-Frankfurt's efforts to gain new clients or additional accounts. These materials document the development and strategy for proposed campaigns from first drafts and market research to the final presentation materials. It should be noted that this series contains new business campaigns only for clients that they did not obtain. Among the courted clients are Sektkellerei Carstens KG, Hertz, Johnson Wax GmbH, Kodak, Purina, Dr. Oetker, Singer, Verband Deutscher Tapetenfabrikanten, and Wrigley.

The Organizations Series documents Peter Gilow's participation in several advertising associations. The bulk of the material concerns Gilow's work in Aktion Gemeinsinn, an organization of German agencies attempting to enhance and promote the public good through advertising (similar to the U.S.'s Advertising Council), and the Gesellschaft Werbeagenturen (GWA). Furthermore it provides some information about JWT-Frankfurt's branches, Basisresearch and JWT Public Relations GmbH, and Proservice.

The Meetings Series documents Peter Gilow's participation in several national and international JWT committees, thus providing insight into the company's structure and organization. The material of JWT's Board of Directors' meetings entails the President's reports, indexes of the resolutions, material for the annual meetings of stockholders (New York, February 1976), financial reports, and retirement plans. Especially the meeting in February 1976 provides detailed information on the JWT's European offices. The minutes of the European Managers Meetings include financial reviews for Frankfurt, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich as well as reports on political and economic trends in Germany. During these meetings Gilow gave several presentations, for example on the environment (London, March 1969), on the business development in the German speaking area (Miami, November 1969), on the decline of advertising business in Germany and organizational changes in the Vienna and Zurich offices (Berlin, September 1976), and a report on political and economic trends in Germany, and the financial situation of the offices in the German speaking area (London, December 1976). In 1973, the International Management Group (IMG) was founded to enhance the cooperation among JWT's international offices. Gilow participated in the IMG as well as in the European Planning Committee (EPC) from their first meetings on. It was the EPC's purpose to represent JWT's European operations at IMG meetings and to provide direction to JWT's European coordinating group in London.

The Memoranda Series primarily documents the flow of information from the executive level to the staff (Haus-Mitteilungen), and provides insight into the day-to-day operations in the Frankfurt Office. Frankfurt's internal communication covers such subjects as contacts with clients and the preparation of campaign presentations, conferences, market research and poll results, new policies on billings, labor regulations and staff appointments as well as news from other JWT offices. Also included in this series are several issues of JWT-Frankfurt's newsletter, the "JWT-Frankfurt-Report."

The Writings and Speeches Series contains papers by Peter Gilow and other advertising excecutives including Dan Seymour, Norman H. Strouse, Thomas Sutton, and Edward G. Wilson. Topics concern marketing strategies, business reports, the relationship between advertisers and advertising agencies, and JWT policies on research, compensation, and new technologies. Speeches of the years 1957-1963 by Thomas Sutton document JWT's first thoughts about the implications of the newly established European market. The same issue is followed up in Gilow's writings and speeches from the 1970s. Other speeches concern the growth and diversification of the German advertising scene, consumer behavior, the purpose of the Aktion Gemeinsinn, Germany's social legislation, and the developments of JWT-Frankfurt's business activities.

The Annual Management Series contains the annual marketing plans that the Frankfurt Office prepared for the New York Office. The first part of the annual reports provides background information about the economic and political developments in Germany during the past year, including figures for the gross national product, the German advertising expenditure, and the results of national elections. The report's review section gives information about the agency's performance in the past year compared to the previously stated objectives. In this assessment, Gilow explains why the agency could or could not achieve its goals for profit, staff efficiency, acquisition of new business, etc. It also notifies the New York Office about changes in Frankfurt's policies for department organization, recruitment, and staff training, or about the purchase of new equipment or furniture. The second part sets the objectives for the next year's equivalent billings, the expected total income, changes in direct and indirect salary costs, profit goals, research progress, personnel, and new business. The series also contains several similar assessments for the offices in London, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich.

The Manager's Monthly Assessment Series gives detailed insight into the business developments of the JWT offices in Frankfurt, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich. In monthly reports the managers of these offices inform the New York Office about the status of the year's operating results, the changes in personnel and accounts, the general account status and comments about political and economic developments in the respective countries. At the end of the series are issues of The European Managers Monthly Digest (in the European Managers Assessment file) providing information on changes in personnel, account news, the advertising industry, office internal activities, and international clients from all European JWT offices. International clients include Bacardi, Braun, Burger King, De Beers, Ford, Gillette, Kellogg, Kodak, Kraft, Nestle/Findus, Pan Am, Singer, and Unilever.

The Account Poll Series contains a self assessment of all the advertising campaigns produced by the Frankfurt Office in 1976. The series documents the complete polling process.

The International Visitors and other Events Series documents the planning and arrangement of visits from clients or from other JWT offices. Examples of such visits are special events like Frankfurt International Automobile Salon or the Photokina-Cologne. The series does not provide substantial information about the events themselves but rather the Frankfurt Office's preparation for such events through schedules of visitors' arrival, the booking of hotels, schedules and general statements for the purpose of such events. Visitors include Norman H. Strouse, Edward G. Wilson, Don Johnston, Tom Sutton, Rena Bartos, and Carlos Barreto.

For related material, see other collections in the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, especially the papers of other Frankfurt office executives, Frankfurt print advertisements, and the Frankfurt video collection.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
1918, March 13
Born in Weisswasser, Germany
Attended elementary School in Weisswasser
Attended High School (Gymnasium) in Niesky
ca. 1937-1945
Attended Military Academy and Served as General Staff Officer (Major) in the German Army during WW II
Married Gisela von Kuenheim
Worked at Flammer Soap and Detergent Works, Heilbronn, Germany as Advertising Manager
Joined the J. Walter Thompson company's office in Frankfurt as Prokurist (manager with full signing power) and Account Supervisor
Became member of JWT-Frankfurt's management
Named manager of the German office with Denis Lanigan as Co-Manager
Was a Member of the Board of Aktion Gemeinsinn (Advertising Council), Bonn - Bad Godesberg
Assumed sole and full responsibility for Frankfurt Office
Named Senior Vice President of J.Walter Thompson Company
Became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Frankfurt Office and the German speaking area (Austria, Germany, Switzerland)
Was a Member of the Board of Directors of the Gesellschaft Werbeagenturen, [GWA] (German Association of Full Service Advertising Agencies)
Chairman of the Board of the GWA
Named Executive Vice President of J.Walter Thompson Company, New York, and member of the Board of Directors. Was a Member of the newly founded European Management Group that assumed executive responsibility for JWT's European operations.
1978, April
Retired from all offices at J.Walter Thompson Company
1992, Nov. 8
Died in Königstein-Falkenstein/Taunus, Germany

Peter Gilow was Chairman of the Board of the German Advertising Agencies Association, Board Member of the Advertising Council, and President of the European Advertising Association.

Acquisition information:
The Peter Gilow Papers were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) Frankfurt Office in 1995.
Processing information:

Processed by: Kai Evers and Sabine Engel

Completed August 1996

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson GmbH (JWT's Frankfurt Office), J. Walter Thompson Company Fund, and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.

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. Only duplicates of memoranda and speeches have been removed. 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, JWT Frankfurt's correspondence with this client is filed under the letter "L" and not "U." All newsletters from JWT Offices other than Frankfurt have been transferred to the newsletter collection.

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The copyright interests in the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives have not been transferred to Duke University. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office. Peter Gilow Papers, 1960-1978, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.