The company has been pioneering brands since 1864 and is known for its longstanding relationships with clients, among them Unilever/Lever Brothers (109+ years); Mondelēz International/Kraft Foods (89+ years); Kimberly-Clark (84+ years); Nestlé (81+ years); Kellogg's (80+ years); and Ford Motor (67+ years). Other notable clients include Avon, Treasury Wine Estates, Edgewell/Schick, Tudor, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Newell, Air Canada and the United States Marine Corps.
J. Walter Thompson (JWT), of the WPP Group, is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York City, J. Walter Thompson is a global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries and employing over 12,000 marketing professionals.
JWT celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014. It traces its origins to the Carlton & Smith agency, which opened its doors in 1864, one of the first known advertising agencies in the United States. Founder William James Carlton started selling advertising space in religious magazines, but almost nothing is known about the partner named Smith.
In 1868, Carlton hired James Walter Thompson as a bookkeeper. Eventually, Thompson found that soliciting and sales were much more profitable, and he became a very effective salesman for the small company.
In 1877, Thompson purchased the business of his employer for $500 and, a year later, purchased the office furniture for $800. He changed the company designation to J. Walter Thompson, as he felt that James Thompson was too common a name in New York. One of his first clients was a personal friend – Robert Wood Johnson, the founder of Johnson & Johnson – for whom Thomson personally wrote advertising for the toothpaste brand Zonweis