By the fall of last year, high-tech businesses were looking less than profitable to some agencies. But for J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, they still meant big bucks.
In October, the agency nabbed the $100 million Sun Microsystems account-its biggest win of the year-by partnering with digital branding agency Tonic 360, San Francisco, which had handled Sun's interactive account. Weeks later JWT bought Tonic 360.
Bob Jeffrey, president of the New York office, handled Sun when it was a client of Lowe Lintas/SMS, San Francsco.
Mr. Jeffrey also pushed the agency further into the digital arena. For example, the WPP Group agency bought Seattle-based Imago Technology Advertising, renaming it Imago/JWT. JWT's digital @JWT division in the U.S. grew from $13 million to $46.2 million in revenue by yearend, says the agency.
Other new business wins added about $300 million in net new billings to the agency's offers. They included KPMG International, iPlanet and Spencer Stuart. Kohl's Corp.'s $90 million to $100 million broadcast account was the largest loss of the year.
JWT executed fine creative work for some of its long-term clients, such as "Dude!" for the Ford Focus out of its Denver office and DeBeers Consolidated Mines North America campaign from New York.
Los Angeles President Peter Stranger signed on as CEO of JWT West, while Mary Baglivo was promoted to chief operating officer of JWT North America in March, after only six months as chief marketing officer. Although Charlotte Beers kept a low profile, she continues as chairman of JWT Co.
Peter Schweitzer, president of J. Walter Thompson Co., succeeded Chris Jones as CEO of JWT Co. Mr. Schweitzer will divide his time between Detroit and New York offices. JWT is still looking to fill the executive creative director slot in its flagship New York office. The industry also awaits the first work to be produced by former William Morris Agency executive Marina Hahn's (c)@JWTsubsidiary, which integrates advertising with entertainment content.
Last year's rating: 3.5