Bob Jeffrey, Worldwide chairman and chief executive officer

Report by Bob Jeffrey (above)
Worldwide chairman and chief executive officer

At 145 years old, JWT has a proven track record of leading brands through times of heightened anxiety, like the one the world is facing now. We’ve done this the only way we know how – by pioneering.

Innovation is in our lifeblood. We see opportunity in challenge, we look at what could be rather than what is, we answer “What if?” with “Why not?” Most important, we have the passion to make our ideas happen.

Our pioneering spirit, backed up by the breadth and depth of talent and knowledge across our global network, has helped us maintain many enduring relationships: Unilever (105 years), Kimberly-Clark (80 years), Kellogg’s (77 years), Rolex (61 years), Shell (46 years), and the list goes on. It has also translated into winning creative and substantial business results for us and our clients.

In 2008, we achieved our best year ever at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. We took home 39 Lions across several categories – including the first Grand Prix for India for our Times of India campaign – making us the No.4 global network at the competition.

We also won 38 Effie awards in almost every region around the world, proving that solid creative work equals real business results for our clients. Our winnings included a Grand Effie award for Times of India, a Grand Prix award for Wilkinson Sword’s ‘Fight for Kisses’, and 12 Gold Effies.

Our single-minded focus on delivering truly pioneering work has never been stronger. We developed creative that raised serious debate inside and outside the industry like HSBC’s ‘Lumberjack’ spot; created fully integrated campaigns such as ‘Happy Jetting’ for JetBlue and ‘Spit It Out’ for Cadbury’s Stride, both out of New York; and produced innovative work like the Alexandre Herchcovitch campaign out of Brazil, that turned Johnson & Johnson’s Band Aid into a fashion accessory.

The quality of our creative output has attracted more world-class talent to JWT and we now have one of the strongest creative line-ups ever.

Our rising profile also contributed to significant additional business among existing clients – our growing relationship with Diageo, for example, led to global wins on the Jose Cuervo and Baileys brands – and to several high-profile new business wins across the globe. We were awarded Microsoft’s enterprise software and service business and we led a team of sister WPP companies in a competitive pitch to secure the lion’s share of Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical brands.

open quoteThe quality of our creative output has attracted more world-class talent to JWT, and we now have one of the strongest creative line-ups everclose quote

In our first full year as Nokia’s global network, we took on additional responsibilities for the world’s largest mobile manufacturer. And we forged dozens upon dozens of new relationships on the local level, becoming the agency of record for Wal-Mart in Canada, Pizza Hut in Singapore and Vodafone in Egypt, among other high-profile clients.

The integrated work we provide for these clients is indicative of the type of digital, activation, direct marketing and field force marketing capabilities we’ve aggressively built across the agency. Over the past several years, we’ve focused on building an integrated model that provides stronger and more effective creative than either traditional stand-alone agencies or siloed digital shops can offer.

As a result, we’ve seen our digital and activation expertise yield more work from clients, including Johnson & Johnson, Schick, Cadbury and De Beers. For Nestlé, for instance, our Paris office provided online consumers with an interactive editing suite they could use to direct their own movie about the lengths the main characters would go to get their hands on Extreme ice cream. For Bayer’s Berocca, our London office launched a viral piece that gained popularity on YouTube. We’ve also seen the ongoing success of clients such as the U.S. Marine Corps and HSBC through our increased collaboration and integration with our CRM network, RMG Connect.

Founded in 2002, RMG Connect manages customer relationships online and offline using data, technology, planning and creative. It is now a network of more than 900 people in 32 offices across North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America producing award-winning integrated work for global brands.

Our inherent understanding of how to build strong, data-driven results and leverage social networks is nowhere more apparent than in our continued success with the U.S. Marine Corps, one of our largest and longest-running accounts. Our North America operations combined online communities, social networks and an enhanced web presence in a new campaign that achieved recruiting targets for the Marines.

open quoteThe explosion of digital media, and the constantly changing opportunities they present to address an audience of one, plays directly to our strengthsclose quote

As consumers continue to enjoy relationships with brands and each other across a myriad of different channels, we will always look for innovative ways to connect them.

With the economy in recession, we understand that effective communications are more important than ever. To that end we created an Economic Task Force, bringing together our smartest minds across disciplines to examine how the downturn is affecting consumer attitudes and behaviors – and, most important, what this means for brands. The common thread throughout this work is our AnxietyIndex, a six-year-old proprietary research tool that tracks the level and intensity of consumer anxiety and the drivers of it.

This type of intelligence allows us to offer the agility, resourcefulness and foresight that today’s economic climate demands. Despite the ongoing challenges of the auto and luxury industries, for instance, we continue to produce great strategic work in partnership with 64-year client Ford and 42-year client De Beers.

For the introduction of Ford’s 2010 Mustang, we tapped into the passion for the iconic pony car by asking filmmakers from all over the world to share their ‘Mustang Stories’ – the best of which were produced, promoted on TV and showcased online. Our marketing communications also helped the Ford F-Series become America’s top-selling vehicle for the 27th consecutive year. For De Beers, we positioned diamonds as a symbol not just of love but of a meaningful, unfaltering and resilient love – a long-term investment.

JWT’s pioneering spirit has stood – and will stand – the test of time. The trust and reassurance inherent in our people, our companies and our brand reflect the professionalism, global breadth of knowledge and talent that our clients seek during turbulent times.

We understand that the challenges we’re presented with represent enormous opportunities, and in 2009 we remain mission-focused on developing pioneering work that drives growth for us and our clients.