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Great Moments

Great Moments In Advertising: The First Agency


N.W. Ayer & Son was the first advertising agency in the United States, founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1869. N.W. Ayer was responsible for some of the most enduring slogans in advertising history, including:

“When it rains it pours”, advertising salt for Morton Salt, coined in 1912 “I’d walk a mile for a Camel”, advertising Camel cigarettes for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, coined in 1921. Sometimes this slogan was formed into a jingle,”I’d walk a mile for a mild, mild Camel.” “A diamond is forever”, advertising diamonds for De Beers, coined in 1948 “Reach out and touch someone”, advertising long-distance telephone service for AT&T, coined in 1979 “Be all you can be”, advertising military service for the United States Army, coined in 1981.

In 1973, the company relocated to New York, New York. Following a general trend in the advertising industry, N.W. Ayer was subject to a number of mergers and acquisitions and was eventually acquired by the Publicis Groupe (based in Paris, France), which closed down the N.W. Ayer offices in 2002.

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