JWT Gets Wired

J. Walter Thompson’s experience marketing Kraft Foods’ Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Unilever’s Salon Selectives products to multicultural consumers led Western Union Financial Services to award its $25 million advertising account to the shop.

“They took a simple idea [for those products] and transcended it to many cultures, but the brand core and the brand essence was never lost,” said Diane Robertson, Western Union’s director of contracts and strategic resources, marketing.

The Chicago shop teamed with Zubi Advertising of Coral Gables, Fla., to pitch the Denver-based wire-transfer service’s business. The team bested Chicago shops Leo Burnett, which aligned with Bcom3 sister company Lapiz, and BBDO, which teamed with Omnicom agency Dieste, Harmel & Partners.

Western Union’s previous lead agency, Lowe in New York, resigned the account last October after the company announced plans to focus on the Hispanic market. Hispanic incumbent Bromley Communications of San Antonio was cut earlier in the review.

Western Union, which largely targets Hispanics, was looking for an agency capable of producing multifaceted creative in a consistent fashion, Robertson said.

“We had good insight about the power of the brand,” said JWT president Brian Heffernan.

Heffernan said the presentations the agency made before about a dozen Western Union executives were fairly straightforward and included storyboards. The agency’s WPP Group partner, Mindshare, will handle media buying and planning on the account.

Western Union is not expected to change its long-running tagline, “The fastest way to send money worldwide.”