Centre is key to JWT

J. Walter Thompson, Toronto, is reinforcing what it considers its competitive advantage - consumer knowledge.To this end, the agency has made its Consumer Behavior Centre the nucleus of its operation.The centre is headed by George Clements, international vice-president, national director strategic...

J. Walter Thompson, Toronto, is reinforcing what it considers its competitive advantage – consumer knowledge.

To this end, the agency has made its Consumer Behavior Centre the nucleus of its operation.

The centre is headed by George Clements, international vice-president, national director strategic planning & research.

Over the past few months, the agency has reconfigured its offices so that two key users of research, the creative and media departments, are adjacent to the Consumer Behavior Centre.

‘The department is not new,’ Clements says. ‘What is new is that we’re making it more visible and more clearly focussed.

‘If we can understand the consumer better than anyone else, by definition, we will do better advertising,’ he says.

Working closely with Clements and the Consumer Behavior Centre are Janet Callaghan, vice-president national media director, and Derek Chapman, vice-president, creative director.

Andy Krupski, president and chief executive officer, says the interrelationship of the departments enables the players to get all the information more quickly so it can be thought about, analyzed and put in a form that creative people can work with.

Krupski says immediacy is important to most clients because they usually have such a narrow window of time when their business needs to suceed.

‘A good idea late is still a bad idea,’ he says.

One of jwt’s regular consumer studies is called ‘Lifestages,’ which looks at the consumer attitudes according to life experiences, such as child-rearing, instead of by age group.

Two other studies have evolved from Lifestages findings: ‘Kidstages,’ which looks at the attitudes of teenagers, and ‘JWT Listener,’ a new study that will analyze how people shop supermarkets and drugstores.