JWT has announced a year-long programme of events and activations to highlight its pioneering spirit and rich history around the world as the agency celebrates its 150th anniversary.
“JWT’s 150th is much more than just a birthday. This is a platform to galvanise our employees around our pioneering roots and spirit of inventiveness, and to share our mission with our clients and the world,” said Bob Jeffrey, Chairman and CEO, JWT Worldwide.
He further said, “Every day is an opportunity to reinvent tomorrow, and together with our pioneering clients, we will continue to seize that opportunity for the next 150 years.”
J Walter Thompson, the agency’s founder and the original ad man, paved the way for what is now known as modern advertising. Since the agency first opened its doors in 1864, Thompson’s vision as an innovator and pioneer has expanded into a global network of 10,000 employees, spanning 200 offices and 90 countries.
Over the decades, JWT has maintained a number of the industry’s longest-standing client relationships, including: Unilever (109 years), Kimberly-Clark (84 years), Nestlé (81 years), Kellogg’s (80 years), Rolex (68 years), Ford (67 years), US Marines (66 years), Johnson & Johnson (51 years) and Shell (49 years).
In celebrating the agency’s rich history of pioneering, JWT drives forward in its mission and vision for the future to invent pioneering ideas that people want to participate in and spend time with.
“It is an honour to join JWT during such a momentous time. This is an agency with pioneering DNA – the brand, the clients and the people,” said Gustavo Martinez, Global President, JWT Worldwide. He added, “Our strategy for growth in the year ahead as a company will also draw its strength from our spirit of pioneering.”
To kick off the anniversary celebrations, Jeffrey and Martinez unveiled a commemorative logo that revives the original historical mark from JWT’s earliest visual branding: the Owl and the Lamp. The owl, long a symbol of wisdom in many cultures, and the lamp, an emblem of light and clarity of vision, together symbolize that experience and knowledge lead to success.
From hiring the first female creative director and pioneering magazine advertising to being the first agency to expand overseas and the first to send a Kit Kat into space, JWT has pioneered in the world of advertising with groundbreaking ideas that are bold and engaging, and introduced many of the world’s most memorable communications.
In 2013, JWT’s innovative work won a number of accolades at global awards shows, including the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. JWT’s ‘Fakka’ for Vodafone brought home numerous awards, including a Gold Lion and was also the most awarded piece of strategic work in the industry last year. Additional award-winning campaigns included JWT Beijing’s ‘Missing Children’ app for Baobeihuijia.com and JWT New York’s ‘Yes, Virginia the Musical’ for Macy’s.
And, JWT’s work for Nestlé’s Kit Kat played a significant role in the brand being named one of the most influential candy bars of all time by ‘Time’ magazine.
The 150th celebrations underway for the year include:
The Commodore Challenge – an internal contest in search of the three most pioneering ideas for the world, with cash prizes
Cannes seminar on pioneering and innovation
Pioneering Influencer Series with clients, alumni and industry icons
Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship for female creatives
Interactive historical timeline
Historical content series highlighting JWT’s first and best stories from around the world
JWT Intelligence 150th Initiative
Going forward, in 2014, JWT will also continue to reinvent and bolster its digital capabilities. Actively managing digital change, JWT touts more than 2,000 non-traditional specialists dedicated to delivering digital work for clients. The agency will continue to acquire pure-play digital agencies, with a special focus on emerging markets – recent acquisitions include Thomas Idea in Thailand, Post Visual in South Korea, Designercity in Hong Kong and Lemon Sky in Poland – while expanding existing digital networks.
New business growth is an important signal of JWT’s contemporary relevance, as it often involves attracting clients from newer industries. The agency was recently named global agency of record for Puma. Other new business wins included Energizer personal care brands, Air Canada and The Singapore Tourism Board.