JWT's acquisition of Lunchbox gives the agency a smallish domestic player in shopper marketing with common clients like Unilever and Kimberly-Clark.
The 70-person shop is based in Los Angeles and has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and Bentonville, Ark.—home of key client Walmart. The agency also works for Disney.
Last year, Lunchbox generated revenue of $21 million, according to JWT parent company WPP Group. The agency opened in 2005.
Lunchbox will retain its name and management—including CEO Adam Roe and chief marketing officer Kevin Weisberg—and operate as a unit of JWT. By keeping Lunchbox separate from the main agency, JWT will shield itself from potential conflicts, such as JWT's business with Macy's, a retail rival of Walmart.
Before the deal, JWT's retail marketing capabilities were locked up in Malone Advertising, which the agency acquired in 2005. In December, Malone forged a joint venture in North America with fellow WPP shop OgilvyAction. The two agencies share resources but do business as OgilvyAction and JWT Action, respectively.
JWT North American CEO David Eastman described Lunchbox as a "strong complement to our existing offerings," adding that the shop "possesses a full toolbox of mobile, video, and in-store solutions that effectively connect brand and consumer."