Emeritus Likes JWT’s Maturity

Senior Citizens Centers Assign Account to Elders Marketing Unit
DALLAS–JWT Specialized Communications here has landed the $2-3 million account of a senior citizens center operator based in Seattle.
The agency, through its mature marketing division, will front the first national advertising for Emeritus Assisted Living, which owns 123 centers across the country.
According to JWT Specialized Communications (JWTSC), the assignment will include creative and media duties for print, radio and television. The shop will also assume local marketing programs, sales strategies and media plans to help build occupancy levels. Ads will stress Emeritus’ ownership of the centers, which operate under various names.
“The whole [category] is growing so quickly, and they’re one of the country’s largest,” said JWTSC managing partner Ron Jenkins.
Robert Snyder, senior vice president of the agency’s Mature Market Group, said the shop pursued Emeritus for several months before gaining an audience with company officials. Those executives supported plans to step up advertising, and JWTSC was hired without a review, he said.
“There are many different target audiences we are trying to reach,” said Snyder. “These include senior adults, adult children [and] referral sources.”
Jenkins said individual properties of Emeritus handled most of the advertising through local shops, targeting seniors over 75.
Emeritus previously doled out corporate work to Robley Marketing, Portland, Ore., according to sources.
Client marketing vice president Sarah Curtis could not be reached for comment, but said in a statement that Emeritus was looking for a shop with extensive seniors marketing experience. The agency’s seniors marketing unit is operated from JWTSC offices in Dallas and Boca Raton, Fla.
Emeritus, a publicly traded firm founded in 1993, rapidly built revenues of $117 million in 1997 through acquisitions and new developments. The company, however, stated in Securities and Exchange Commission documents it is expected to carry net losses ($28 million in 1997) through at least 1999 because of a heavy debt load. Emeritus president Ray Brandstrom has said the organization will sell nonprofitable properties and slow expansion to stem quarterly losses.