Cleveland based FULLER & SMITH & ROSS, INC. (FSR) was a leading nationally known ad agency in the 1930s, ‘40s and '50s, specializing in industrial and business-to-business advertising. It generally ranked among the top 20 to 25 U.S. agencies in terms of billings. FSR was a major user of Cleveland based SPONSORED FILM STUDIOS, particularly CINECRAFT PRODUCTIONS. Cinecraft produced sponsored films, slide films and slide strips, and TV commercials for over 40 FSR clients.

The WESTINGHOUSE account was a mainstay of FSR for 44 years. Other Cleveland companies using FSR included AMERICAN GREETINGS, THE AUSTIN CO., Central National Bank, THE CLEVELAND PRESS, CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO., Dresser Industries, Inc., EATON CORP., HARRIS CORP., SHERWIN WILLIAMS CO., STERLING-LINDNER DEPARTMENT STORES, STOUFFER FOODS, and The Cleveland Health Council.

A major factor in the agency's growth was the leadership of Allen Billingsley, who joined the company in 1923 as an account executive on the Westinghouse account and became the president of Fuller & Smith in 1928.

In 1930, New York-based F.J. Ross Advertising Agency and Fuller & Smith merged to form Fuller & Smith & Ross. Frederick Jeffrey Ross became the agency's chairman, based in New York, but the real authority was in Cleveland, where Billingsley served as president. In 1938, Ross retired, and John E. Wiley, who joined in 1932, assumed the chairmanship, serving until 1950.

On Oct. 8, 1954, Billingsley died suddenly of a heart attack. Robert Allen, who had replaced Mr. Wiley as head of the New York office in 1950, though without the chairman title, assumed the presidency, and FSR's headquarters moved to New York. 

When Billingsley died in 1954, FSR employed 650 people in Cleveland, New York and Chicago. 


Jim Culley

Ad Age Encyclopedia: Fuller & Smith & Ross


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