Robert Feemster was a salesman, businessman, executive and newspaperman, however, he always referred to himself as an advertising man. It was to advertising that he made his greatest contributions.
Beginning as an advertising salesman with The Wall Street Journal in 1933, he rapidly moved up in the organization. In 1948 he became chairman of the executive committee of Dow Jones and was directly responsible for advertising, circulation and promotion of all the company's publications and services.
Feemster was a strong believer in the force of advertising and its ability to better the lives of the American people. On hundreds of occasions, he spoke about the power of advertising and the vital role it played in the nation's economy. Feemster was also a vigorous proponent of truth in advertising, not only as an intrinsic good, but as a way of avoiding governmental interference.
His efforts to protect the industry from government interference helped to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from ruling against advertising as a legitimate tax-deductible business expense. He also worked to block postal rate discrimination against the advertising content of newspapers and magazines. In 1961 Feemster made an important speech criticizing the Federal Trade Commission for conducting a "broad witch hunt" aimed at undermining the entire advertising industry. In 1962 he proposed a new tax law that would permit a business to set aside reserves for advertising. As chairman of the Advertising Federation of America, he started the annual mid-winter legislative conference with the federal government, held in Washington, D.C.
In 1957 he founded and chaired the Advertising Education Foundation, sponsored by the Advertising Federation of America, so as to promote advertising education among the public.