Creativity finds colour at JWT

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising
Last updated : March 07, 2005
JWT gets serious about creativity, devises score cards to track performance

It is a new fondness for colours that marks JWT's makeover, both in terms of look and feel. Besides the logo, colours are going to make a difference in internal assessment of creative work as well.

Red, yellow and green are the score cards (moving from red, through yellow to green as the scores get better) for creative standards at JWT.

World Beating: Shaded in dark green, this is the best work in the world. It is an entirely new idea that is being talked about worldwide and will make the brand, client and network famous.

World Class: In green again, this competes with the very best ideas in the world.

Market Leading: This is the best work in this category in the world. It leads the market and will enhance the creative reputation of the network, while making its competitors "envious". Colour: Green.

Innovative: The work is innovative and the best example of this category in the network.
Colour: Green/yellow

Rewarding: This work will get noticed. It is refreshing and people will feel rewarded having spent time with it. It will enhance the network's standing in the category. Colour: Green/yellow

Interesting: This idea is familiar, but executed and told in an interesting way. Colour:Yellow.

Bland: This is well executed, but bland. There is nothing particularly new in this idea, but it manages to communicate its message. Colour: Yellow/red

Boring: This work is predictable in both idea and execution. The customer will not give it much time because it is wallpaper and like so much other average work. Colour: Red.

Wasteful: The work is a waste of time because the customer won't even bother taking the time to absorb it. The agency has wasted both the client's time and its own resources. Colour: Red.

Damaging: The work is worse than a waste of time. It is damaging to both the client and the agency. Colour: Red.

Based on these scores, the agency's offices will assess their own work and the results will be shared with the global network. So, if a certain team sees more red than yellow or green cards, there's a problem.

This was shared by Michael Maedel, president worldwide, JWT, and Patrick Pitcher, area director, Asia Pacific South, who were in town on a whistle-stop tour last week.

"Change is a necessity," said Maedel, after a short audio/visual show on the new moniker and logo.

"The new identity is an expression of the change. We have adopted a new set of beliefs, and new ways to evaluate work and a health check system," he said.

The first health check will take place in March, the five indicators of which are work, people, reputation, clients and financials.

The new systems of checks-and-balances will help create better agency-client-consumer relations, feels JWT.

The agency is also shedding other things, besides the famous middle and last names. "We have often been accused of focusing too much on the bottom line," said Maedel. "All that is going to change now."

While the agency takes pride in being known as masters at account planning, it wants to get serious about creative as well. And the appointment of Craig Davis as the new worldwide creative director is a step in that direction, he explained.

Davis was earlier regional executive director with Saatchi & Saatchi, Asia and Africa. He was named Advertising Person of the Year, 2003, by Campaign Brief Asia and Ad Age Global named him one of the top 100 advertising people.

Pitcher clarified that the agency's decision to go for a makeover was not an act of desperation. "JWT has had one of its best years in 2004 and it was thus the right time to go for the change."

JWT intends to focus on devising campaigns that will encourage consumers to spend more time with the clients' brands. "The consumer has changed. The role of advertising has changed from being interruptive to a participatory one. Time is our new currency," said Maedel.

"We are looking at the 31st second," Pitcher added. "We are looking at engaging the consumer beyond the 30-seconds of the communication."

Appointing people on a project basis is another area the company is exploring. This is in the wake of increasing attrition rates in the industry and the problem of attracting talent.

Though JWT is confident that its business model is an attraction in itself, it has delivered a very strong message to all newcomers and old timers. "We have introduced an evaluating system for recruitment as well, and we will want to see all our current employees convert wholeheartedly to our new philosophy," emphasized Maedel. And, what if an employee doesn't? "He is welcome to leave," is the terse response. "Organisations don't define success or failure, attitudes do," Maedel added.

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First Published : March 07, 2005
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