J. Walter Thompson USA

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2003 Rating: 2.5 stars

2002 Rating: 2.5 stars

The year 2003 unfolded into 12 months of dousing brushfires on smoldering accounts and management matters for J. Walter Thompson Co. in North America. JWT announced a new management team for the network, naming President-CEO Peter Schweitzer chairman and Bob Jeffrey, former president of JWT North America, CEO.

Account departures had management scrambling. J. Walter Thompson USA's Chicago office lost Miller Brewing Co.'s Miller Genuine Draft to WPP Group sibling Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide; the San Francisco office lost Sun Microsystems, a surprise to no one since the relationships were long rocky. A big win of Pfizer business came from Cordiant Communications, purchased by JWT parent WPP. Late year wins came with Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim's Yentreve and Unilever's Caress. Creative for Diageo's Smirnoff and malternative Smirnoff Ice continues strong.


The coming year will test new office chiefs Barry Krause in Chicago and Rosemarie Ryan in New York. The new business record is lackluster: Together, in 2003 the offices participated in more than 30 reviews but reeled in few big-time wins. As Kraft Foods, among others, squeezes JWT on compensation, expect agency management to reduce its cost structure.

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