This week sources tell us that J. Walter Thompson (née JWT) and several other agencies are currently involved in a pitch for the global business of KPMG, one of the world’s five largest accounting firms.
The client has an established relationship with JWT; the agency beat BBDO to win the account (which had been with Lowe) in the halcyon days of 2000. Mindshare won the media business, and at the time the two accounts were valued at nearly $100 million.
Yet, while KPMG continued to work with a variety of agencies on a project basis in later years (JWT’s U.K. office won a brief back in 2010), it preceded current trends by effectively dropping the AOR model. In the United States, KMPG stopped running ads entirely until earlier this year, when it debuted its first campaign in “roughly a decade.”
The very literal “Glass Ceiling” work followed the no-AOR model in that its lead ad was created by J. Walter Thompson New York with accompanying work attributed to Element.
Both spots starred golfers Stacy Lewis and Phil Mickelson, highlighting KPMG’s status as a gender-conscious employer by promoting its sponsorship of June’s Women’s PGA Championship.
Here’s JWT’s work:
This was a project-based assignment for both agencies, but the fact that KPMG launched a full campaign to publicize the tournament implies that the company seeks to raise its international profile by investing more heavily in marketing. This strategy also apparently includes dropping its former resistance to the creative AOR model.
Sources claim that the review is happening in New York this week after being relocated from London.
JWT participated in several reviews this year. Despite losing Royal Caribbean to the newly-formed Mullen Lowe in May, its U.S. operations recently won North Shore-LIJ (previously with DeVito/Verdi) and Kellogg’s Special K (previously with Leo Burnett).
Both JWT and KPMG declined to comment for this post.