JWT Adds Microsoft Unit

NEW YORK WPP Group’s JWT has landed global creative duties on Microsoft Corp.’s business solutions products after a “jump ball” with incumbent McCann Erickson.

JWT here will create work that will appear in the U.S and abroad, albeit via McCann’s global network, which will distribute and adapt the work, as needed, according to a Microsoft representative.

Sources said that Microsoft considered a third agency for the assignment as well, but, in the end, chose between ideas presented by JWT and Interpublic Group’s McCann. The new effort is expected to be backed by about $200 million in major media spending, said sources. Microsoft declined to discuss spending.

McCann and JWT referred calls to the client, which said, in a statement, that “after roughly two years in market, we’ve decided to take our advertising campaign aimed at business customers to the next level. We opened up the creative review to several advertising agencies and selected JWT for the next phase of the campaign. We look forward to working with the team at JWT.”

JWT competed for a previous global Microsoft assignment that MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky landed in February. JWT was cut before the final round of that review, which came down to Crispin versus Publicis Groupe’s Fallon.

The Crispin assignment is new and seeks to define Microsoft to consumers in the context of its mobile, Vista and Live platforms. The agency’s first work, due later this year, will be backed by about $300 million in media spending, according to sources.