Pigott on JWT

What's the secret to keeping clients so long, which JWT seems to be so good at?

What’s the secret to keeping clients so long, which JWT seems to be so good at?

I think we are very good at working with famous brands, and that means never being complacent about a brand that is a leading brand or a famous one. It’s a matter of constantly looking at ways of keeping it fresh or revitalizing it. That is our competency. And the other is we have a collaborative approach and attitude with our clients. They are our partners, and we work very effectively with them.

How has the client-agency relationship evolved over the years?

There is a functional change that has occurred whereby…instead of taking

full-service from the agencies, [clients] are now splitting their assignments among more companies. So it has changed in a functional sense, given that we are not doing the media planning and buying for a number of our clients now. Philosophically, I don’t think it has changed: When a relationship is working well, it should ideally be one whereby we listen and then lead.

We really try to understand what the fundamental issues and needs are for our clients and then try to find solutions for them that they cannot find themselves.

JWT Worldwide has announced a rebranding initiative that it touts as a major departure from its status quo -

it includes a one-to-10 scale of creative standards that will be used to sort the ‘damaging’ ads from the ‘world beating.’ How will JWT Canada change its approach in light of these changes?

I think that we will not change. We have for a number of years been very vocal in the marketplace about the importance of

idea-centred marketing, that the key is to find an idea which can stand as the inspirational springboard for the brand and all of its marketing and communications activities. So the emphasis (by JWT Worldwide) in this new positioning around the whole idea of ideas is consistent with what we have believed for some time.

A component of that refocusing is to make the consumer a participant in advertising. How is JWT Canada making consumers more like participants and less like people to whom messages are delivered?

There are certain characteristics of ideas that people want to spend more time with. One is surprise. I think people are so media savvy these days that they can see an ad coming a mile away. But people are often delighted when they are surprised – when they are engaged in an ad…. So the more we can surprise them, the more we will engage the right sides of their brains. The other is to be relevant. Being surprising for its own sake, when it is off-topic as it were, is obviously problematic. So relevance is critical. And then I think being distinctive but different. So these are principles that aren’t terribly earth shaking, but they are important to get right.