Agencies In Strange Places: �Eighth In A Series

If you believe the dinosaur speak on Henderson Advertising’s site, the Greenville, SC agency was the first big time shop in the Southeast. Founded in 1946 by Jim Henderson, the shop grew to 120 employees and $100 million in billings by 1986, the year its founder retired. In 1980, Henderson was named “Agency of the Year” by Adweek, a distinction no agency outside New York nor Chicago had ever earned.
Given that advertising people have notoriously short attention spans, it would be fair to ask, “Great, but what has Henderson done lately?” This Costa del Mar print ad is one answer to that.
Greenville is also home to some other interesting ad peeps. Erwin-Penland is a unit of Boston powerhouse, Hill Holliday. But the most promising development in Greenville ad circles has to be Brains On Fire. Not only do they have a cool name and sweet digs, they’re one of the few agencies anywhere with an actively updated blog.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Hey David. All I ever read about agencies is “billings.” Hell, GM has big “billings.” What’s the net margin for a great, mediocre, and struggling agency?

  2. Tom,
    For sure, billings are an antiquted measuring device. Especially so for the new media neutral landscape.
    Marketing services shops report gross revenue, and that seems like a much better guage. Maybe the top-of-the-line shops could follow suit.
    And while we’re at it, let’s lose the below-the-line/above-the-line designations. Such labels are pretty meaningless at this point.

  3. Thanks for the kudos!

  4. Carl LaFong says:

    Thanks for continuing to shine the spotlight on relatively obscure but very deserving agencies. They may not rate fawning coverage in Creativity or corner the market in Cannes Lions, but they do terrific work all the same. It’s refreshing to find an ad blog that isn’t blinded by all the award show hype.