Kodak ends an era, calls it quits with JWT

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Eastman Kodak Co., abruptly ending one of advertising's classic partnerships, dropped J. Walter Thompson Co., its agency for more than 50 years. Kodak business at JWT -- Kodak film and traditional cameras -- was assigned to Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, which already handles a number of other Kodak assignments. JWT and Ogilvy are both owned by WPP Group. Kodak spending at Thompson was estimated at $40 million.

Kodak Chief Marketing Officer and Senior VP Carl E. Gustin said, "The switch in advertising assignments for Kodak consumer products reflects our need for a new creative focus and direction. Further, this move is aimed at improving Kodak's strategic focus and ability to manage the brand on a worldwide basis." At JWT, Chris Jones, worldwide CEO, said the agency was disappointed but not surprised. "When a company undergoes the level of change that Kodak is going through," said Mr. Jones, "any long-serving partner is vulnerable."

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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