School Reports 2011: JWT

In last year's School Report, JWT promised it would do better in 2010. And, to be fair, the agency has begun to deliver. Yet it still seems to be a work in progress.

Recent JWT work: HSBC
Recent JWT work: HSBC

Score: 5

Agency fact file: JWT
Type of agency Integrated creative
Company ownership WPP
Key personnel Guy Hayward chief executive, JWT UK Group
  Russell Ramsey executive creative director, JWT London
  Tony Quinn head of planning, JWT London
  Joseph Petyan joint managing director, JWT London
  James Whitehead joint managing director, JWT London
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £180m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £200m
Declared income £55m (2009)
Total accounts at year end 33
Accounts won 9 (biggest: KPMG)
Accounts lost 3 (biggest: Baileys)
Number of staff 432 (+51%)

In last year's School Report, JWT promised it would do better in 2010. And, to be fair, the agency has begun to deliver. Yet it still seems to be a work in progress.

New business continues to be a concern. The loss of the global Baileys business to Bartle Bogle Hegarty was a blow and, worryingly, the agency's 80-year-long grip on the Nestle account looked like it was weakening when it lost Polo to CHI & Partners and the launch of a Milky Bar variant to Santos. Other bad news came when the Huggies business was shifted into Ogilvy & Mather.

There was a flurry of mainly middling wins, the biggest being KPMG and Microsoft Bing. Others tended to be on the smallish side (Maple Leaf Bakery, for example) for an agency that really should be punching at a heavier weight and on a bigger stage.

Elsewhere, there is evidence of structural change beginning to pay off, with Shell and Rimmel handing JWT their digital accounts, showing that this is one area where the agency has considerably upped its game.

Guy Hayward, the chief executive, appears to have been busy creating a rather neat suite of services such as JWT Experience, a business that attempts to develop effective communications across technology platforms for brands; JWT High Street, a retail offering; and JWT Entertainment, a content production division. With a more diverse - and therefore differentiated - offering, these promise much for the future. The agency also moved quickly to replace the likeable joint managing director Tom Vick by promoting James Whitehead to the role.

Meanwhile, JWT's creative output, for the likes of HSBC, continued to tread a reliably pedestrian route - nothing spectacular, nothing shocking - although there are tangible signs things could be starting to improve, with an awards haul that should boost the creative department's confidence. All in all, a satisfactory year.

Score last year: 4

How JWT rates itself: 6

"We enjoyed 2010. We're moving (rapidly) in the right direction. We picked up some great new business including significant digital wins. Creatively, with Russell's influence, our work continues to be right up there with three golds on three different clients in Cannes. Strategically, we left with four IPA Effectiveness Awards. We have also bought in some great talent to boot. We have more to do, we know, but we're very much looking forward to 2011."

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