J. Walter Thompson USA

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2004 Rating: 3 stars

The essence: After a fairly difficult 2003, a series of initiatives, from new hires to new approaches in executing marketing ideas, appears to be taking hold. Expect more change; an agency repositioning will debut in early 2005. JWT is one to watch.

Net growth : Compared with 2003, JWT fared well, winning Jenny Craig, Welch's, Pfizer's Purell, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Bufferin, Illinois Tourism Board and Stouffer's Red Box. Losses: Diageo's Tanqueray and Smirnoff Ice; Unilever's Lipton; and Western Union. JWT New York also helped parent WPP Group win HSBC, a provider of credit card services to retailers.

management: With one year as president of JWT New York nearly complete, Rosemary Ryan brought on a chief creative officer and co-president, Ty Montague, from Wieden & Kennedy, New York. Known for innovative ads executed with multiple components using multiple media, Mr. Montague is a potentially radical element for a historically staid agency.

Creative quality and effectiveness: Long-running efforts for clients like Diamond Trading Co. continue; TV for Diageo's Smirnoff had a humorous edge. Overall, however, TV work was not surprising. JWT's non-traditional efforts such as product placements for Ford Motor Co. and its F-150 truck grabbed attention. New positioning for Pfizer's Listerine-"As effective as flossing"-boosted market share in first 12 weeks on air; the success of Cup-A-Soup relaunch for Unilever with "3 p.m. Slump" will go national in `05.

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