Pioneering St. Louis Adman Charles Claggett Dead At 89

Charles Claggett, a St. Louis adman who ran Gardner Advertising in its heyday and was credited with making Jack Daniel’s a leading whiskey and Tom Mix a cowboy icon, died earlier this month at his winter home in Florida. He was 89.
For many years, Gardner was the city’s leading ad agency. Claggett joined as a copywriter in 1931 and served as president from 1955 to 1959. He then served as chairman and CEO from 1959 until 1968. At that time, Gardner claimed billings of $65 million, with a client list that through the years included Procter & Gamble, Ralston Purina, Anheuser-Busch and Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery.
The agency was taken over by McCann-Erickson in the early 1970s and no longer exists.
As a young copywriter at Gardner in the early 1930s, Claggett created the Tom Mix Ralston Straightshooters Club, a pioneering promotional marketing program, on behalf of client Ralston Purina. He also wrote many of the scripts for Mix’s popular radio show.
Claggett also is credited with resurrecting Jack Daniel’s whiskey, which was floundering when he suggested that the distillery raise its prices and keep supply short, in order to appeal to consumers looking for something unique.
Gardner’s billings quadrupled during Claggett’s years at the helm. The agency had offices in New York and Europe.
Claggett’s namesake son is managing director of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis.