JWT Gets Makeover, Time Becomes Central Focus
Yesterday, it was the birth of a new religion for JWT, formerly known as J. Walter Thompson, America's largest ad agency. In a day long, worldwide celebration, J. Walter Thompson officially transformed itself into the hip, new JWT, an agency which will "stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in," according to the agency's new Creative Partnership Contract which all 8,500 employees signed yesterday.
Placing time as the agencies key focus, JWT will treat time as the new currency and endeavor to respect people's growing lack of time to process advertising messages. As a symbolic nod to this new thinking, JWT is auctioning off the company's time for a charity on...where else...eBay. Rather than placing a gigantic tattoo on all 8,500 JWT employees, the agency will provide something more meaningful - free work. The winner of the bid will donate the time to a charity organization.
In a move which may have Thompson either rolling in his grave or gleefully celebrating the shedding of his tired, old nautical persona, the legendary Commodore portrayed in portraits displayed in JWT offices around the world into a young, vigorous figure ready to compete in today's environment.
Bob Jeffrey, Chief Executive Officer of JWT Worldwide, said the rationale for the reinvention of the agency is rooted in consumer behavior and demands. "We are now living in a world where the consumer is savvy, time-conscious, easily distracted and in control. Today's consumer is totally at odds with dumbed-down, formulaic, repetitive, voluminous messaging. Our greatest value to clients is our ability to recognize a changing world in which the customer is king, the currency is time and the rewards are measured in the length and strength of relationships. This understanding defines our role, purpose and belief."
It sounds great in theory. Without jaded, snarky commentary, here's hoping the effort becomes reality.