J. Walter Thompson has overhauled its planning function, creating a
new department called @JWT which offers top ’thinkers’ the opportunity
to work as consultants within the agency.
Merry Baskin, who is pioneering the move, will continue as planning
director for part of the week but will spend the rest of her time with
@JWT, where she will continue to have access to the agency’s research,
creative and administrative resources.
Those involved with @JWT will be expected to work with non-JWT clients
and will pay a set percentage of their income to the agency. They will
be marketed by JWT both individually and collectively.
Marco Rimini, the head of strategy and development at JWT, has been
developing @JWT for almost a year. He said: ’It’s not worth just
tinkering - this will change the way people work at agencies. It’s all
about getting the best out of people and keeping the best people.’
He added: ’You have to organise companies around the way people want to
work, not the way you want them to work. The main thing is that our
clients have access to the best people.’
Rimini hopes that @JWT will attract staff from a number of disciplines
who are looking for a flexible working environment but want to continue
to enjoy the facilities and culture of an agency.
Planners in particular - including Jackie Boulter, formerly of Abbott
Mead Vickers BBDO, Chris Forrest, the ex-planning director of Duckworth
Finn Grubb Waters, and Adam Morgan, formerly at TBWA Europe - have been
seeking ways of working - enhanced by new technology - that are not
offered by the traditional agency set-up.
JWT will continue to have a traditional account planning department,
which will be run by Hilde Oord. Rimini said: ’Hilde is good at creative
development. We need to make sure that our account planning is at its
best all the way through the creative process.’