JWT Loses Two Chunks of Microsoft Business

Company Shifts MS Office to Deutsch; Yanks Bing From Agency

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Microsoft is making more agency changes -- this time yanking two pieces of business from JWT, New York, and reassigning them to two other shops on its creative roster, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The company is shifting its Office business to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, while Bing, the search engine that JWT helped launch in the spring of 2009, is going elsewhere as well.

It's not entirely clear where the Bing business is ending up -- though some are speculating that either a piece, or all of the busines, could land at MDC Partners' CP&B. Representatives for the agency could not be immediately reached. Microsoft, while it didn't deny the agency moves, was extraordinarily vague about them as well.

"As a business best practice, Microsoft regularly evaluates its agency mix to ensure we retain the most qualified partners for our business needs," said a representative for Microsoft. "WPP remains a valuable partner."

Deutsch referred calls to Microsoft.

Asked what his reaction was to the news, JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey said: "Anger and shock."

"To say we're not angry would be dishonest," he said. "I've been in the business a long time, and I've had positive calls and negative calls and this was one of the most shocking in my time. ...The results are in -- we're winning an Effie for Bing and we've won other accolades for the work." But, he added: "We're survivors and we'll get through this and ultimately will plan to replace the business in New York."

For Deutsch, it means a second win from Microsoft in the span of less than a year. Last August, the marketer reached out to agencies to pitch ideas for its cloud-computing business, also dubbed its "commercial account." In quick order, it chose Deutsch's New York office to handle the business.

In April of 2009, Microsoft Corp. announced Bing, its new search engine, with much fanfare. It shortly debuted a massive ad push -- pegged at an estimated $80 million to $100 million -- under then-JWT Chief Creative Officer Ty Montague. The work went after Google and Yahoo with the notion of "search overload," displaying consumers babbling all sorts of search terms as they went about their day.

Microsoft spent more than $1 billion on advertising in the U.S. last year, according to Ad Age 's DataCenter, which ranks Microsoft as the 32nd-biggest national advertiser.

The moves comes as global marketing leader Mich Mathews is on her way out the door at Microsoft after 22 years at the company. She is replaced by Chris Capossella.

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