Ted Bates (advertising firm)

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Ted Bates is the general name for the advertising agency founded by Ted Bates in 1940.

The company grew to become company into the world’s fourth largest agency group. and expanded his business for 26 years without losing a single client.[1]

Corporate history[edit]

The firm was founded by Ted Bates in 1940 as Ted Bates, Inc.. It was purchased by Saatchi & Saatchi in 1986, and merged in 1987 with Backer & Spielvogel Advertising to form Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide. In 1994 the name was changed back to Bates Worldwide. Meanwhile, the parent company Saatchi & Saatchi changed its name to Cordiant plc in 1995. subsequently, in 1997 Cordiant spun off both Saatchi & Saatchi and Bates Worldwide, and Bates became the primary subsidiary firm of a newly formed holding company, Cordiant Communications Group.[1] In 2003, Cordiant was purchased by WPP Group.


Ted Bates’ creative partner was advertising maverick Rosser Reeves. Rosser was an advertising pioneer; he invented the TV commercial, crafted one of the most popular brand slogans of all time (M&Ms “melt in your mouth, not in your hand”), wrote the first bestselling book on advertising, “Reality in Advertising”, and created the famous Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) that is still used by marketers today.[2]

These two industry pioneers believed that advertising exists for only one purpose: to sell the client’s product. To quote David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, “Rosser taught me my trade….and that the real purpose of advertising was to sell the product”. Their edict of effectiveness remains a core focus for the agency today.[3]

Ted and Rosser are in many ways the original ‘ad men’, it is widely accepted that the popular TV drama ‘Mad Men’ is based, at least in part on them.[4]

Multiple 'branding experts' got their start at Ted Bates' firm, including New York Times bestselling author and branding expert, Bill Schley.

See also[edit]