Stanley Resor: Hard Work Leads to Advertising Success

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Ogilvy On Advertising" by David Ogilvy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who was Stanley Resor? What did he do in the advertising world, and how did he help shape the ad industry?

Stanley Resor was an ad agency executive who valued good account relationships and research. Resor was known for having steadfast principles and working long hours.

Read more about Stanley Resor and how his work shaped modern advertising.

Who Was Stanley Resor?

Like Albert Lasker, Stanley Resor held other jobs before getting into the advertising industry. While he attended Yale, he worked as a tutor and bookseller. Later in life, he started working for J. Walter Thompson. 

Unlike Lasker, Resor didn’t think much of copywriters. He focused on his account executives and valued research. Every month, he asked the same 5,000 consumers what they bought, he built a test kitchen in the agency, and he experimented with TV before it was even viable for advertising.

Also unlike Lasker, Resor treated his staff very well. He was very interested in other people’s opinions—he believed in consensus and hated hierarchies—and his company had no formal structure or job descriptions. He was good at attracting and keeping top talent.

Resor was responsible for some firsts in the industry—he was the first person to set up international offices and the first to employ a woman copywriter when he hired his wife, Helen.

Resor worked long hours and adhered to his principles. He refused to advertise liquor or patent medicine accounts, and he turned down the opportunity to work with Camel.

Resor led J. Walter Thompson for 45 years, until he was 80. Staying so long was a mistake—by this point, his ideas were outdated and many of the people who could have succeeded him had already retired themselves. However, when he retired, the agency was the largest in the world.

Stanley Resor made significant contributions to the advertising world, and helps shape it into a huge modern industry.

Stanley Resor: Hard Work Leads to Advertising Success

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Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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