CHICAGO First Data Corp.'s Western Union has placed the creative portion of its advertising account, currently at WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, into review, the company said.
The client has enlisted consultancy Now Inc. in Southport, Conn., to handle the search. When JWT's Chicago office won the account in 2002, it was valued at about $15 million. Current billings are in the same range, sources said.
JWT will not defend. In a memo to staffers, JWT Chicago president Barry Krause wrote, "Our general market relationship with Western Union will be ending in November."
JWT's media sibling, Mindshare, will continue to handle the client's media duties and Connect@JWT will continue to handle digital and direct capabilities, sources said.
"Last year, Western Union launched a global campaign, and we have made significant progress in the development of our brand," said Mike Hagerty, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Englewood, Colo., company in a statement. "Now we are looking for opportunities to achieve greater global integration, consistency and efficiencies."