Philip Livingston Thomson contributed richly to the development and stature of advertising through dedication to industry and community service. He was a resourceful advertising leader of a great corporation and a positive change agent in advertising industry affairs.
A graduate of Union College, which awarded him its distinguished service medal in 1946, and a graduate of Harvard University, Thomson was first a reporter for the Schenectady Daily Union and in 1903 commenced his long and fertile career with the Western Electric Company. He retired in 1945.
Within the profession he was regarded as the first to use advertising in college publications to inform students about business and to attract them to careers in business. In 1925 he conceived and implemented a pioneering institutional program, to build awareness of the social and economic role of a large business not selling to the general public.
Of special significance was Thomson’s involvement as volunteer president of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), a post he vigorously filled for 23 years, from 1927 to 1950. Through the years, the ABC has commanded the devoted participation of many leaders in advertising. In this role with the ABC, Thomson journeyed widely, making the case for business integrity and self-regulation, as exemplified by ABC. Addressing international gatherings in London and Berlin, he was credited with fostering the United Kingdom’s ABC (1931) and the former West Germany’s IVW (1949).
Thomson was active in the Association of National Advertisers and its president from 1923 to 1924. He was also importantly engaged with the National Industrial Advertising Association in its formative years, as well as with the Advertising Federation of America.
Philip Livingston Thomson served his own company superbly while simultaneously distinguishing himself in the realm of advertising.