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Article: N. W. Ayer & Son

N. W. Ayer & Son

Early History and Notable Slogans

  • N. W. Ayer & Son founded in Philadelphia in 1869 by Francis Ayer
  • Started by representing religious weekly newspapers
  • Acquired the Volney Palmer Agency and George P. Rowell's American Newspaper Directory
  • Expanded into the advertising business in 1884
  • Introduced creative teams in 1892
  • Notable slogans include:
  • 'When it rains it pours' for Morton Salt (1912)
  • 'I'd walk a mile for a Camel' for Camel cigarettes (1921)
  • 'A diamond is forever' for De Beers (1947)
  • 'Reach out and touch someone' for AT&T (1979)
  • 'We may be the only phone company in town, but we try not to act like it' for AT&T

De Beers

  • N. W. Ayer & Son created the slogan 'A diamond is forever' for De Beers
  • Harry Oppenheimer of De Beers and Ayer president Gerold M. Lauck discussed a marketing campaign in 1938
  • Ayer proposed a campaign to promote the idea of engagement rings decorated with diamonds in the U.S.
  • The campaign reinforced the relationship of diamonds with love and romance
  • Ayer became the exclusive agency for De Beers' American interests


  • Ayer commissioned by Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York to create an advertising campaign for AT&T in 1906
  • AT&T made Ayer its main advertising agency due to the campaign's success
  • Ayer created the slogan 'Reach out and touch someone' for AT&T in 1979
  • AT&T and Ayer had one of the oldest advertising relationships in America
  • AT&T parted ways with Ayer in the 1970s


  • Ayer faced challenges from smaller agencies targeting specific consumer demographics in the late 1960s
  • Ayer's standing dropped to tenth place among major agencies
  • Ayer's campaign for the U.S. Army, 'Be all that you can be,' faced negative responses towards the Vietnam War
  • Ayer was suspended from making bids with any branches of government due to a scandal involving the Army collaboration
  • Ayer lost the Burger King Corporation account and failed to retain the AT&T Corp. account

External Links (excluding unrelated content)

  • List of Ayer & Sons newspaper directories, Library of Congress website
  • Newspaper directories via HathiTrust

N. W. Ayer & Son Data Sources

Reference URL
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