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James Walter Thompson
James Walter Thompson
The evolution of the Prudential rock
Thompson started as a bookkeeper at Carlton & Smith and then bought the firm in 1878 for $500 (and the office furniture for $800).

He renamed it J. Walter Thompson Co., invented the account executive position to offer full service to clients and was the first to use house ads to promote the agency.

The firm, which became the first agency to surpass $100 million in billings in 1947, helped launch Proctor & Gamble's Crisco and developed the Rock of Gibraltar concept for Prudential Insurance Co.

NEXT: John E. Powers

Last updated August 14 2009: 11:16 AM ET
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