School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]
J Walter Thompson London



J Walter Thompson London



Type of agency & ownership:  Integrated creative agency, owned by WPP
Nielsen billings 2017: £94m (-27%)
Declared income: £51.5m
Total accounts at year end: 63
Accounts won: 19 (biggest: Bayer corporate)
Accounts lost: 1 (Debenhams)
Number of staff: 381 (-6%)
Key personnel: James Whitehead, chief executive; Lucas Peon, executive creative director; Emma Hoyle, director of talent; Simone Forster, managing partner/head of client services; Neil Godber, head of planning
Star player: Rachel Pashley, head of Female Tribes Consulting

Year in review

Was 2018 the year that J Walter Thompson finally shook off the shackles of its legacy? Well, its management would certainly like you to think so. And, in fairness, a certain amount of progress was made.

JWT formed a partnership with Blueberrywave that gave it access to more data; it also formalised its work on gender equality with the launch of Female Tribes Consulting (although the irony was not lost when in 2018 the agency was revealed to have the biggest gender pay gap within WPP). And, most importantly, its creative output improved immeasurably. While the UK’s performance at Cannes was in no way vintage, JWT was the third most-awarded London agency at the festival.

It also picked up a Best of the Best at the Campaign Big Awards for its brilliant "Ashes to art" project for the Glasgow School of Art. And there were some notable campaigns for HSBC, Kenco, UN Women and Shell that particularly stood out.

Yet the perennial thorn in JWT’s side – new business – remained a source of pain. While it claimed 19 wins (11 of which it says are confidential), the clients tend to be on the diminutive size. Picking up a smattering of smallish accounts such as Aspall and Avon UK might pay the bills but they aren’t ones to set the heart aflutter.

With JWT facing a battle to keep hold of its global Shell business, which is run out of London and is one of its biggest accounts, minds might inevitably be focused elsewhere. Retaining this, while also growing the business with other big, heavily contested wins, will show that JWT really has turned a corner.

Agency's Year In A Tweet


"Top 3 most awarded UK creative agency @Cannes; 4th in Gunn report UK; 3rd in AAR new biz league; moved into consultancy & data; #endoflegacy"

Scores


Score this year: 6
Score last year: 4
How the agency scores itself: 8
Management strength: 6
Creativity: 7
Innovation: 7
New business: 5
Diversity: 4

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £35.2m
Previous: £47.0m
Change: -25.20%

Operating profit

Latest: £2.1m
Previous: £6.2m
Change: -66.40%

List of total accounts Retained:

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aspall

Avon UK

Avon International

Bayer

Bayer Corporate

Battersea Power Station

Casenove

Diageo

Hilti

HSBC

IHG

Jacobs Douwe Egberts (Kenco)

Johnson & Johnson

Kellogg's

Kimberly Clark

Legal & General

Microsoft Mobile Digital/Nokia Lumia

Mazda

Nestle Confectionery

Nestle Nespresso

NGP (BAT)

Premier Foods

Qatar Financial Centre

Randstad

Ribena

Rolex

Schroders

Shell

TK Maxx

Treasury Wine Estates

Wagamama (dormant)

WheyHey

Wilkinson

Projects:

AB World Foods

Abbott

Air Canada

Ann Summers

Apollo

Away Resorts

Canon

Campari – Grand Marnier

Danone

First Direct

Forevermark

Girl Guides

Hero Cycles

Indesit

ITC

Kenwood

Mattel

Oakley

Randstad

Royal Enfield

Save the Children

Shepherd Neame

TATA

Under Armour

UN Women UK

Unilever

Vodafone Global

Woodland Trust

WWF

Top three spending accounts:

Bayer (n/s)

HSBC (n/s)

Shell (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 34
Number of accounts that are projects: 29
Biggest win: Bayer Corporate (£2m)
Biggest loss: Debenhams (£400,000)

Diversity


Awards

Haymarket award wins


Campaign Big Awards: 2