JWT New York Nabs U.S. Tourism Account

Brand America Has Budget of $200 Million

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JWT, New York, has picked up marketing duties for the U.S. Corp. for Travel Promotion account after a review.

In the last round of the pitch, which took just a couple of months from start to finish, the WPP shop faced off against sibling Ogilvy, New York, and Omnicom Group's DDB, New York. Agency representatives either declined to comment or could not be immediately reached.

JWT won the business with the help of WPP siblings including media shop MediaCom, PR agency Hill & Knowlton and strategic branding shop the Brand Union.

The marketer's CEO, Jim Evans, in a statement said: "JWT's global network is unparalleled, especially within our priority markets. They demonstrated impressive strategic insight and a genuine, shared passion for our mission." The statement also noted that the advertising budget for the group is $200 million.

The CTP, established by Congress in 2010 as a partnership between the travel industry and the federal government, was formed to create marketing initiatives that will lure more international travelers to the U.S. The group's creation stemmed from the Travel Promotion Act, a bill that was signed in February 2010. Prior to this review, the U.S. did not have a dedicated agency to market itself abroad.

The agency pitch began in early July and agencies traveled to Washington for final pitches last week, industry executives said. People familiar with the review told Ad Age that the organization is especially eager to find new ways to draw more visitors to the U.S. from the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

For JWT's New York office, this is a much-needed win, as the agency has lost significant pieces of Microsoft and Kraft business in the last year. The Microsoft loss included the Office account, which was reassigned to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, and Bing, the search engine that JWT helped launch in the spring of 2009, which is handled by CP&B. Meanwhile food giant Kraft recently yanked Trident from the agency globally. The agency did pick up the Lean Cuisine marketing account from Nestle in March, though.

"New York needed to win this, not just because it's a big win, but it's all about momentum, and this gets the momentum back in New York," JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey said.

The official launch of the campaign will likely be in the first quarter of 2012.

According to CTP's website, the newly appointed board of directors is "working along multiple tracks to ensure that the program is able to hit the ground running when the first funding for marketing becomes available in October 2011." Ad Age reported earlier this summer that the CTP was seeking a chief marketing officer. At press time, the job listing was still on the organization's website.

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