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The Detroit office of J. Walter Thompson Co. has consolidated its media, interactive, event marketing, direct marketing and database planning groups into a new unit.

Dubbed the Communications Group, it is a prototype that could be adopted by other JWT offices worldwide.

Although the biggest client of the group will be Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division, it will be headed by Andrew Prakken, 40, senior partner and formerly media director of JWT Detroit's Diversified Group that handles non-Ford advertising.

JWT's trio of media directors on the Ford account are among the 70 people reporting to Mr. Prakken.

Brand teams in the new unit have been formed around clients, such as Ford, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Domino's Pizza. The teams are staffed by people from each discipline.


"The last thing you want is a bunch of different groups telling the client what approach to take," Mr. Prakken said. "This is a more holistic approach to advertising."

JWT also created a new, proprietary database system called thompson total targeting, or t3. It will be housed within the Communications Group.

JWT will be able to enhance each client's database with ones it owns to assist in a wide range of strategic planning, Mr. Prakken said.

JWT President Peter Schweitzer said that "t3 is in such high demand we are making it available to all JWT offices through a centralized database operation."

t3 uses NetGravity's AdServer software to place and move ads on the Web and get immediate feedback on how cybersurfers use a site.

JWT's London office and one of its Australian offices probably will be other key sites besides Detroit for the database operation.


JWT probably is a year or two behind other agency giants in the interactive arena, but no single agency is head and shoulders above the rest, said Jeff Burkel, president of Agency Management Group. His company surveyed seven of the 10 largest agencies on their new technology capabilities last fall.

"JWT did not come out very well," he said.

The agency is taking a positive step with the changes, Mr. Burkel said, noting

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