Close-Up: Global Brief - JWT US joins the entertainment marketing arena/Brand-based TV shows will pull in the advertisers, JWT believes

Shows such as Lux Radio Theatre and Kraft Music Hall will mean little to young ad executives of the 21st century. But these radio shows from the 30s serve as a reminder of a time when advertising agencies could, legitimately, claim to rule the airwaves.

Shows such as Lux Radio Theatre and Kraft Music Hall will mean

little to young ad executives of the 21st century. But these radio shows

from the 30s serve as a reminder of a time when advertising agencies

could, legitimately, claim to rule the airwaves.



Now history looks set to come full circle, with J. Walter Thompson in

New York - the agency that pioneered the development of radio and

television programmes for advertisers - making the first step towards

reappropriating some of its showbiz heritage.



The agency has formed an exclusive alliance with the Hollywood

entertainment company, Brillstein-Grey Management, and its parent, Basic

Entertainment - the company which represents, among others, Nicholas

Cage, Courtney Cox, Brad Pitt and Sylvester Stallone. It has produced

hit US shows including The Sopranos, Just Shoot Me and Politically

Incorrect. The company also has a joint venture with Sony to develop

programming for the Columbia Tristar Television Group, and a literary

management company whose clients include Martin Amis and Elmore

Leonard.



JWT has formed the alliance through its new agency marketing division,

fJWT - the f stands for content. The new division is headed by Marina

Hahn, who joined JWT last May as executive vice-president for strategy

and entertainment from the William Morris Agency. JWT will pay Basic for

its work with clients and receive a cut of the revenue from projects

that reach fruition.



The move is intended to enable JWT to improve its offering beyond

traditional advertising, sponsorship and celebrity endorsement.

Unusually for WPP, the JWT-Basic alliance is not equity-based.



As ever the key issue will be the intellectual independence of the fJWT

offer. But Hahn is adamant that JWT will recommend the most appropriate

client solution if the talent rests somewhere else.



’We chose Basic because it is not a traditional talent agency,’ she

says.



’It doesn’t operate in the narrow context of its own clients; it is

neutral, which means it can access any talent, giving us the broadest

access to the creative pipeline.’



There are seven projects in the pipeline, including one for

Warner-Lambert’s Listerine brand. Basic Entertainment is also expected

to play a role in new online opportunities developed by JWT’s internet

advertising arm, @JWT.



’This is about big ideas and the possibilities are endless, from

advertisers becoming partners to the networks and owning programming, to

doing a radio show or a book deal,’ Hahn says.



It is nearly ten years since Coca-Cola stunned the industry when it

bypassed traditional ad agencies to appoint the Creative Artists Agency

to make its commercials. Yet there is a feeling that advertising

agencies have been slow to adapt to the changing communications

landscape.



But the merger between AOL and Time Warner has rammed home the message

of media convergence and there is a feeling that if agencies want to

stay ahead, they need to come up with something to supplement, if not

replace, the 30-second TV commercial.



The coffee chain, Starbucks, has set up its own music production company

to make the music it plays in its stores, and it has signed a

promotional deal with Oprah Winfrey. If the response JWT has had so far

is anything to go by, advertisers will need little persuading.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).