10 Things You Didn’t Know About Women In Advertising

Women were already a force to be reckoned with in advertising well before Madmen’s ambitious Peggy Olsen worked her way from secretary to copywriter at Sterling Cooper in the 1960s. At the J. Walter Thompson (JWT) Advertising Company, women were responsible for advertising women’s products as part of JWT’s Women’s Editorial Department in the early decades of the twentieth century. The Women’s Editorial Department created many of the ad campaign strategies that we still see today.

1. Woodbury’s Soap slogan “A Skin You Love to Touch” is considered the first use of sex in advertising. The ad shows a man touching a
woman’s bare skin — revolutionary for 1914.

2. The use of sex in advertising was developed by a woman:
Helen Lansdowne Resor of the J. Walter Thompson Advertising
Company — she created the Woodbury’s Soap ad campaign.

3. Helen Lansdowne Resor created the Women’s Editorial Department at J. Walter Thompson and mentored female copywriters in the early
twentieth century.

4. Helen Lansdowne Resor created the wildly successful ad campaign
for Procter & Gamble’s Crisco Oil.

5. Helen Lansdowne Resor was the first woman to make a presentation to the board at Procter & Gamble in 1911.

6. The Women’s Editorial Department at J. Walter Thompson brought in more than half the revenue for the company for a number of years.

7. The Pond’s Cold Cream and Vanishing Cream ad campaign, created by JWT’s Women’s Editorial Department, introduced the modern testimonial ad.

8. Helen Lansdowne Resor led a JWT contingent in New York City’s mass suffrage parades.

9. Many of the women who worked in JWT’s Women’s Editorial Department had already had successful careers in social work, public relations, editing, retail advertising, journalism, and event planning, while others held positions in women’s organizations that were active in the Suffrage Movement.

10. Helen Lansdowne Resor (1886-1964) was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1967.