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The Development of Radio and TV as Advertising Media
Guide to the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles archives, 1929-1995 and undated
The DMB&B Archives includes material that documents aspects of three advertising agencies: D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Benton & Bowles (B&B), and D’Arcy MacManus & Masius (D-MM). The Benton & Bowles (B&B) files in this collection are the only materials relevant to the early development of radio and television advertising.
Founded in 1929, B&B entered the radio market in 1932 with the highly successful "Maxwell House Show Boat" program. The agency was one of the first to create and produce its own shows, with an early emphasis on daytime serial radio programs targeting female consumers, and from the beginning maintained a separate copy department for the preparation of radio commercials. By 1948 it had added television production to its New York and Hollywood operations, opened a production office in Toronto, and assembled a large staff of directors, producers, and writers to support television commercial and program production.
In keeping with its "total programming" philosophy, B&B was the first agency to develop product testing for clients and, like the J. Walter Thompson Company, maintained its own Television Workshop. The collection is strong on agency history, but contains little material on the creative or business processes behind B&B's accomplishments.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Account Files, 1885-2008 and undated, bulk 1920-1995
This collection documents the J. Walter Thompson Company's management of many major and minor client accounts, including deliberations about media selection, markets, and target audience for individual advertising campaigns. An early innovator in radio and television advertising, the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) quickly developed a leading edge in program production in both media. The company launched its Radio Department in 1927, then re-organized it as the Radio-Television- Film Department in 1955, with a focus on the emerging television market. JWT claimed credit for producing the first commercial TV program in 1930, and was the first agency to develop and maintain an in-house television workshop for pre-testing ideas, effects, and scripts; screen-testing new talent; and previewing commercials and programs for client approval.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Advertising Vertical File, 1950-1994
The Advertising Vertical File was created and maintained as an internal reference file by the Information Center in JWT's New York Office and contains subject files (primarily news clippings, articles, and pamphlets) on a wide range of advertising topics, including radio and television.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Broadcast Business Affairs Records.
Consists of 8 boxes of memoranda, correspondence, legal agreements and other printed materials related to radio and television broadcasts. Of particular note are the collections of contract cards, lists of artists and agents, talent contracts with individual artists and performers, and syndication agreements. Companies represented include American Gas Association, Ford, Kodak, Kraft, Pan Am, and R.T. French.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Dan Seymour Papers, 1951-1974
This collection documents television advertising history and the management of client accounts; the development of television shows and other aspects of television programming, including actor selection and audience profiles; and client account histories. The process of reorganization and overall administration of the Radio-Television Department is primarily documented in the Radio-Television Department Series (Office Files and Thompson Company Offices). Other materials in this series describe the planning and production of specific television programs: scripting, casting, and production decisions; the scheduling of client advertising; interactions among JWT's various production offices; and the company's business dealings with television networks.
J. Walter Thompson Company. John F. Devine Papers, 1952-1974 and undated, bulk 1956-1970
John 'Jack' Devine managed JWT's Radio/Television Department from 1954 to 1960. Devine was an advertising industry representative to negotiations between television networks and organized labor groups during the period from 1956 to 1960. Correspondence, memoranda, and research reports in this collection provide exceptional insight into media advertising operations during the period of transition from radio to television as the dominant medium for product-sponsored advertising and programming.
The Radio/Television Department Series, in particular, contains materials on such topics as: the critical role of emerging audience research and ratings services in this new advertising environment; the inception and growth of organized labor groups within broadcasting and JWT's necessary involvement with these; the development of specialized departments within JWT to deal with the expanding needs of clients; the co-ordination of the company's far-flung production enterprises (in New York, Hollywood, Chicago, and Detroit); the emergence and evolving roles of regional and national networks; the development of codes of practice and broadcasting standards in the wake of the quiz show scandals of the 1950s; the development and operation of the JWT Television Workshop; and the continual pressure to adopt new technologies such as "colorcasting" and video tape in order to retain clients and compete for new accounts. Materials relating to specific clients and programming are primarily concentrated in the Client Subseries of the Radio/Television Department Series.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Microfilm Collection, circa 1910s-1958.
The Microfilm Collection contains company records such as advertising proofs; administrative records including contracts; and, broadcast scripts and commercials for radio and television (1928-1958). Within the Lux Video Theatre scripts in this collection are the only two teleplays written by William Faulkner. Access points and the full inventory of the contracts are found in the Legal Microfilm booklets, located in the Reading Room. For assistance in locating specific scripts, please contact the Reference Archivist.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Staff Meeting Minutes, 1927-1938
This collection consists of verbatim minutes of regular meetings of various JWT staff groups. Topics discussed at these meetings include account histories, new business prospects, market research, social trends, general business conditions, and advertising strategies for different media. Advertisements, photographs, articles, market research reports, and graphic materials used as background or reference materials in these meetings are also included. The Account Representatives' Meetings and Creative Organization Meetings series are particularly rich in materials pertaining to radio advertising, with occasional references to the emerging television market. Account Representatives' Meetings usually featured a staff member's presentation on a specific account or the dealings of a specific agency department, or with business conditions in general, followed by discussion and other points of business. Creative Organization Meetings featured a lecture by a staff member on advertising practices and account histories. For a more in-depth summary list of meetings and index of discussion topics and speakers, refer to the paper collection guide in the Reading Room.
J. Walter Thompson Company. Writings and Speeches, 1912-2000
This collection spans 1912 through 2000 and includes primarily printed texts of speeches given by advertising executives employed at the J. Walter Thompson Company. Also included to a lesser extent are clippings or reprints of articles, reports, and white papers, along with some books written in whole or in part by JWT staff. Topics include general trends in advertising and marketing, specific themes related to JWT's policies and philosophies, year-end reports, specific marketing strategies.
Jim Brown Papers, 1945-1962
Jim Brown was an advertising copy writer for the advertising firm Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborne. This small collection contains several "total exploitation publicity-promotion plans" produced by the agency's Public Relations Department for television shows sponsored by BBDO clients, including "Du Pont Presents," "General Electric Theater," "Playhouse 90" (for Bristol Myers), and "Lassie" and "The Donna Reed Show" (for Campbell's Soup). The promotion plans, which date from 1955 to 1958, detail a range of strategies for targeting specific viewing audiences, establishing a strong identification between show and sponsor, and exploiting every aspect of a show that might be useful in product promotion, from the setting, storyline and characters to the real lives and celebrity of the actors portraying those characters. Included is a plan for promoting "Wonderful Town" (1958), the first television presentation of an entire Broadway musical with its original star.
Kensinger Jones Papers, 1934-2001 and undated
Jones had a dual career in advertising: as a scriptwriter and, later, an executive for several major agencies in Chicago and Detroit, and as a professor of advertising at Michigan State University. Much of his creative work in advertising was produced for the broadcast media, especially the early days of television advertising in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Leo Burnett Company Subseries contains Jones' scripts for a 13-week series promoting the Democratic Party's agenda in the 1952 Presidential election and a series of commercials touting the Republican Party's farm policies in the 1956 campaign.
Also of interest in this subseries is a meeting memorandum in which representatives of the creative and technical departments discuss the potential advertising benefits of introducing color broadcasting, along with its new requirements and the technical difficulties to be overcome.