JWT Consolidates Online, Direct Units

Venerable ad agency J. Walter Thompson is rolling its online marketing and advertising practices in with its traditional, direct marketing units, to form a single division called [email protected]

The New York-based agency, a unit of holding company WPP Group, said the new division would oversee its wholly-owned portfolio of marketing services and specialized communications companies.

The division contains interactive shop [email protected], technology advertising and PR agency Imagio/JWT, e-business consultant Imaginet and e-business marketer Interactive Marketing Concepts. Also in the group will be JWT’s technology advertising group; the agency’s direct marketing unit, ThompsonConnect; and database marketer Go Direct.

At the head of the new division will be former JWT Technology chairman Russ Fujioka, who will become president and CEO of the group, in addition to retaining his old title. Fujioka will report to JWT North America president Bob Jeffrey.

The move is expected to make online work more appealing to advertisers by bundling direct, interactive and technology advertising services together.

But spokespeople for JWT said it would also help cross-sell all of the agency’s more specialized services.

“It’s not just interactive — we want to continue to grow in direct, for instance,” said JWT spokesman Owen Dougherty. “We’re going to bundle them all under one umbrella, under one president, to maximize capabilities, work together, bring in more revenue from clients, and above all, serve [clients] in all these communication channels.”

In indeed the case, that’s something of a departure from the now-commonplace scenario of the troubled interactive shop being reined in under the supervision of a traditional agencies. (Grey, for one, recently moved its Beyond Interactive online agency under media buying firm MediaCom.)

Indeed, spokespeople say the [email protected] move is more about integration.

[email protected] is designed to enhance the delivery of integrated marketing solutions for our clients,” said JWT president and chief executive Peter Schweitzer. “It is the next step in our evolution to a total brand communications company, with the capabilities to develop highly creative, effective brand messages that resonate in every channel.”

Added Dougherty, “[email protected] has always done very well. The strategy behind [[email protected]] has been to take the top established marketers that we handle … and move them into the online space. That has saved us from the big downturn. [Clients] weren’t just Internet accounts to begin with.”

News Around the Web