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J. Walter Thompson Co. last week tallied an estimated $150 million in new billings, thanks to tissues and telecom.

One day after the New York office picked up an estimated $100 million worth of Kimberly-Clark Corp. ad business, JWT won Qwest Communications International's $50 million corporate and consumer account.

The Qwest victory is particularly sweet considering JWT was working hard to attain a telecom account to replace Sprint Corp. In September, Sprint moved its $200 million assignment from JWT's San Francisco's office to McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York.

These wins come as parent WPP Group, London, nears a deal to bring in former Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Chairman-CEO Charlotte Beers in a top executive role at the agency.

Executives at WPP have been in talks with candidates about a high-level post to work with Mr. Jones (AA, Dec. 14). Ms. Beers is believed to be joining the shop as a chairwoman.


JWT contacted Qwest immediately after it lost Sprint. The timing was right, since Qwest executives were just then talking about changing agencies. By January, JWT had received a trial assignment.

Qwest previously was handled by Bright Sun Consulting, New York, and Focus Agency, Dallas. JWT and Bright Sun each vied for the account during a two-month review process.

JWT also made a bid to keep Sprint's media assignment but dropped out once it was notified of the Qwest win; that account last week was split between McCann and DeWitt Media, New York.

New Qwest advertising from JWT-which won creative, media buying, direct marketing and interactive marketing-breaks this week. It retains the "Ride the light" tag.

One ad, which shows a lightbulb getting hit by a hammer and the hammer exploding, was shown at an analysts meeting Qwest held Feb. 24. The ads focus on the concept that "bandwidth changes everything," said one executive.


Following the new wins, J. Walter Thompson Co. CEO Chris Jones sent out an agencywide e-mail telling staffers "a new JWT is about to emerge."

During an interview, Mr. Jones said he feels strategic and staff changes made in New York in the past year are now beginning to gel. In mid-February, JWT bested more than 30 agencies to win the $15 million Bermuda Department of Tourism account, previously at DDB Needham Worldwide.

Mr. Jones said, "New York has done really well; we're building a new model agency."

As for Kimberly-Clark, JWT gained global work for Kleenex facial tissues and Cottonelle bath tissue in a paper-products consolidation at WPP Group shops.

The New York and Chicago offices of sibling Ogilvy & Mather retained Huggies and related business, along with Kotex. The O&M Chicago office lost Cottonelle to JWT.

Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, longtime agency for Kleenex, lost its last bit of K-C business; it had been the agency for Kleenex since its introduction in 1924, except for a hiatus from 1974 to 1983.

Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, retained Depends and Poise adult incontinence products.

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