Who knows how the sales promotion business got started in America? Ask an advertising executive how the ad business began, and he will probably talk about old newspaper ads, billboards and perhaps early agencies like N. W. Ayer and J. Walter Thompson. Question a marketing executive about the promotions business and, after a long pause, he will possibly mention how stores used to give out samples and wooden nickels even before the Revolution. But ask people in consumer marketing how the promotion agency business began, and you’re likely to hear the name Glendinning and the town of Westport, Connecticut.
Back in 1961, Ralph Glen-dinning built offices in Westport out near Route 57 in a sylvan setting that stood in stark contrast to the bustle and traffic of Madison and Lexington avenues in New York and Michigan Avenue in Chicago – the unofficial capitals of the advertising business. Years ago, the Promotion Marketing Association (PMA) elected Glendinning to the Promotion Hall of Fame, an honor he shares with Ted Turner and the like. Eventually, Glendinning expanded his empire to include such related businesses as the Danbury Mint, a sizable mail-order business of figurines and collectibles.