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Bob Jeffrey

Report by Bob Jeffrey

Worldwide chairman and chief executive officer

At JWT, we believe in the primacy of the brand. Despite the many changes affecting our business and our clients' businesses in recent years, some universals remain. Foremost among them: the idea that creative work needs to be properly rooted in the task of building a client's brand. We firmly believe that the greatest ideas come from core brand-building principles commingled with the best of now (new technologies, new platforms, new markets) in a smart, effective way.

This is what 21st-century brand building is all about. It acknowledges that building a brand is still the most important function of marketing while taking into account how radically different marketing today is from 20th-century marketing.

This understanding has guided the strengthening of our network and our long-standing client relationships. We are ranked as the largest agency in the US and the fourth largest in the world by Advertising Age. Our size is rivalled by our creativity. Most notably, JWT was named as the Hottest Agency in both China and India by Campaign Brief Asia in 2007; we are No.2 in the creative award rankings in Latin America; and were the Middle East's most-awarded agency in the Campaign Middle East Awards and MENA Cristals.

Last year, we expanded our ties with many of our multinational clients in several parts of the world, among them Nestlé and Unilever. We were also awarded Johnson & Johnson's Band-Aid and Reach brands, following the company's acquisition of our 46-year client, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

And our Team Detroit continues to innovate for 62-year client Ford Motor Co., launching multidimensional work for the F-Series, the Fusion, the Taurus and the new Sync communications and entertainment system. For the Edge, we augmented the traditional campaign with a robust interactive effort, which included a mobile website, cell phone messages and The Edge Music Videocast, featuring music videos from must-hear artists.

In addition to growing our existing relationships, we also forged new ones – dozens on the local level. Some of the more notable include Saudi Telecom, the world's 15th largest telecom company; Macy's, America's most famous department store; Royal Caribbean, the international cruise company; Thrifty car rental in Australia; and Sony Bravia and Wal-Mart in India.

We were named Nokia's global network. For us, Nokia symbolizes JWT at its best. The months-long pitch showcased our single-minded focus on success from the beginning, our use of new technologies and working styles, and the rise of the next generation of leaders. It also demonstrated our strength as a global network, one that allows for a multicultural, open-source and fluid collaborative process.

Our diversity is indeed a force for good. We believe ideas can come from anywhere, which is why we need to be everywhere. With a presence in more than 90 countries, our reach is expansive. To break through ethnocentric thinking, we funnel ideas from south to north, east to west.

We are focusing much of our growth efforts on the BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China), as well as many of the countries that make up the 'Next 11', Goldman Sachs's list of up-and-comers that have the potential to be tomorrow's rising economic stars (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam). Our network is well-poised to capitalize on the promise and dynamism of many of these countries.

We know that creativity is not imperialistic, authoritarian, Anglo-Saxon status quo. Rather, it is multicultural, original, fluid, open-minded. It is passionate, emotional, expressive and uninhibited. Our nearly three-year-old HSBC campaign, which celebrates that brand as 'The World's Local Bank', is a prime case in point, taking a broad world view rather than a myopic one.

We have several other examples of this type of unabashed, borderless creativity. Last year, for instance, JWT Paris leveraged seduction in a unique and interesting way for Wilkinson Sword's 'Fight for Kisses' campaign. An animated film showed the Quattro Titanium shaver helping a husband win back his wife's affection by making his skin as smooth as their new baby's; it led viewers to an online game that pitted infant against dad. For Spanish winemaker Freixenet, our Barcelona office recruited Martin Scorsese to direct and star in a nine-minute short about his attempts to film three pages from a long-lost unfinished Hitchcock script.

Both the Freixenet and Wilkinson Sword efforts were huge viral successes online, garnering millions of hits between them.

Digital is intrinsic to the future of our business, and we have been relentless in building our capabilities in this realm. Last year we merged online agency Digit with our London office, strengthened our in-house digital resources and continued to invest in our CRM network, RMG Connect. The JWT and RMG Connect partnership developed a truly integrated campaign for the United States Marines Corps, helping us retain the 60-year-strong account in a government-mandated pitch. This year we are looking to bolster our offering by considering several strategic opportunities.

Despite our stronger concentration on new media and technologies, we always keep in mind that doing good work is not about “doing it all'. It's about 'doing the right thing'. There is no one answer to multi-channel marketing: It is entirely dependent on what's right for the brand.

That's always been a core belief at JWT. It's one of the main reasons we have enduring relationships with clients that are going strong after 80, 90, even 100 years.

How do we do it? By pushing for world-class brand ideas on everything, by turning the network into a competitive strength through the development of our culture and technology, and by loving what we do so that it shines through. We're taking the best of yesterday and bundling it with the best of today and even better of tomorrow in a relevant way that is always soundly based on building the brand.