J. Walter Thompson Company, doing business as JWT, is a leading advertising agency in the US and one of the largest in the world (along with McCann Worldgroup and BBDO Worldwide). It has provided creative ad development, campaign management, and strategic planning services to such clients as Ford, Kimberly-Clark, and Shell. JWT also offers brand development and specialized marketing services, including customer relationship marketing, event marketing, and sponsorships. Its Digitaria unit provides digital and new media marketing services. JWT operates in almost 90 countries through more than 200 offices. Founded in 1864, it is one of the flagship agency networks of UK-based media conglomerate WPP.
The company has more than 200 offices in some 90 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and North America
Subsidiary JWT Specialized Communications provides advertising and marketing services, targeting the employment market. The subsidiary's JWT Education unit zeroes in on colleges and universities. JWT Intelligence provides trend forecasting, market research, and consulting for companies in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, and other consumer products sectors.
Sales and Marketing
JWT has been able to reach the top ranks of its industry in part because of its long-standing client relationships: The firm has worked with some Unilever brands for more than 100 years, and Ford has been a client for more than 60 years. Memorable campaigns have included "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener" for Oscar Mayer in 1963 and "The Uncola" for 7UP in the 1970s.
The agency's long history, though, had given it a somewhat stodgy and conservative image. In 2005 it took the drastic step of discarding its 130-year-old name and rebranding with its updated JWT moniker in order to energize its own brand.
Like many companies, JWT has been pursuing markets less affected by the global economic recession. The company is looking to India, China, the Middle East, Brazil, and Russia for growth. JWT also is focusing more on digital and new media, such as social networking and mobile marketing and advertising.
Mergers and Acquisitions
During fiscal 2014 the company acquired a majority stake in The Hardy Boys. The Hardy Boys is one of the leading independent brand building and activation agencies in South Africa. The deal expands JWT's footprint into Durban, one of the most important economic hubs in South Africa.