Albert Lasker was a unique figure in American advertising. He was an individualistic giant who contributed greatly to the stature of the advertising industry in its early years.
Starting in 1910 with Lord & Thomas, Lasker became its dominant leader and built it to colossal size for agencies of that day. With the aid of many talented associates whom he hired or developed, he did outstanding promotion and advertising jobs for, among others, Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsodent, Cellucotton and Lucky Strike. Upon his retirement, he sold Lord & Thomas to Emerson Foote, Fairfax Cone and Don Belding, who renamed the agency Foote, Cone and Belding.
Lasker was always on the cutting edge of advertising. In his book, Taken at the Flood: The Story of Albert D. Lasker, John Gunther writes, "He was responsible for almost every new development that came to advertising for 25 years." In 1889 Lasker met John Kennedy, who informed him that advertising was "salesmanship in print." This was a revolutionary concept that Lasker immediately adopted and began promoting.
In 1908 Lasker hired Claude C. Hopkins, another mast copywriter of the time. Their message, promoting "reason why" advertising, forever changed the industry. Both men believed that the best advertisements gave consumers a clear reason why they would benefit from the purchase of a product, and furthermore, promoted an aspect of that product that was pleasing.
Lasker helped to make copywriting a central function of the advertising agency. He helped to shift the focus of advertising campaigns from wholesalers and retailers to the consumers themselves.