JWT Direct Unit Taps 2

ThompsonConnect Worldwide has selected a new team to lead its creative efforts. The move is part of parent J. Walter Thompson’s bid to offer clients a more integrated approach to branding.
Sam Smith and Judy Painter have joined the direct marketing shop as creative directors, reporting to Debra Brown, president of the New York office. They replace Richie Fisher.
The duo intend to abandon the tactically oriented executions found in many direct marketing packages in favor of more image-based work, in hopes of increasing responses and leaving a lasting brand image with consumers.
The team will work closely with creatives at the general agency, said Brown, including worldwide creative director Bill Hamilton and J.J. Jordan, executive creative director in New York.
The strategy to unify the look and style of creative messages coming from JWT’s above- and below-the-line work is part of New York office president Bob Jeffrey’s overall agenda.
“Bob Jeffrey has been an overall agent of change within JWT,” said Brown. “As a part of his vision, we will create work that is synergistic with the general agency.”
Hamilton, top creative on Merrill Lynch, will be a key general-agency contact for the ThompsonConnect pair, as direct will play a large role in Merrill’s marketing plans.
Smith and Painter previously held similar roles at Ryan Direct. Before that 18-month stint, they spent five years at FCB Direct in New York.
In a related move, Brown has named management director Roberta Weinstein to the new post of chief operating officer.