For JWT, It's Back To J. Walter Thompson

For JWT, what’s old is new again. The agency has confirmed that it is re-embracing the name it had used for most of its 150 years in business—J. Walter Thompson.

The agency officially adopted the JWT moniker, which for years had been the way that many people referred to the shop, in 2005.

"Throughout our history, JWT has been synonymously referred to as both JWT and J. Walter Thompson,” said the agency’s chairman and global CEO Bob Jeffrey. “The two monikers peacefully coexisted, in the press, in our own internal communications and by the industry at large.”

However in planning for the agency’s 150th anniversary this year, added Jeffrey, “it became abundantly clear that the world and our younger employees in particular, had a deep appreciation and hunger for brand authenticity. So, we embraced this and brought back a commemorative logo — the Owl and the Lamp — for 2014. At the end of 2014, on December 5th, our official birthday, we will return to the J. Walter Thompson name."



The agency hadn’t actually planned to announce the name change until later in the year. But the New York Times reported that Martin Sorrell, CEO of JWT parent WPP spilled the beans at an industry function earlier this week.

Last month, the agency unveiled a series of activities that it is planning this year in recognition of its 150th anniversary, including the use of a commemorative logo derived from the shop’s original “Owl and Lamp” logo. An agency rep said the firm has not yet decided on a permanent logo for use beyond its sesquicentennial year. 

1 comment about "For JWT, It's Back To J. Walter Thompson".
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  1. Bob Sanders from Sanders Consulting, April 16, 2014 at 11:12 a.m.

    JWT is facing the same problem many traditional advertising agencies have: There is there is nothing to hold on to. There is nothing tangible to grasp, shake, and define as being unique.

    The general definition of “ad agency” is “we have a creative product.” Sadly, marketing “creative” ends up being the default branding touchstone. You’re an agency, you ARE creative. Marketing your creative chops is like a restaurant marketing the fact they sell food. You’re a restaurant. Great. Now what type of food? Pizza? Hamburgers? Vegan? Full service or just take out? Prospects know what they are looking for, but ad agencies hide behind “we’re creative… look at all these great ads!” Ad agencies never tell that prospect the type of creative they’re really good at serving in fear of scaring away some other prospect down the road.

    Would you go to a restaurant that claims they’re great at everything? Great service, low cost, and five-star gourmet meals served fast, drive through or formal dining, we have it all! Come on in! No thank you.

    When branding an ad agency, you have to find a way to stand out, separate your firm from the rest of the so called “creative” agencies.

    I wrote more about the change here:

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