Microsoft Taps JWT for Search Product Launch

JWT has expanded its relationship with Microsoft by adding creative duties for the launch of a new Web search product, sources said.

Annualized account billings are estimated at $100 million and initial media spending will be around $40 million, said sources. Microsoft plans to launch the ad effort in the summer.

The WPP Group shop landed the assignment after a pitch that involved two fellow Microsoft roster shops: Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson and MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky, said sources.

Crispin is said to have withdrawn from the contest in December, leaving McCann and JWT to compete for the account.

JWT declined to comment, referring calls to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, which could not immediately be reached.

In the review, Microsoft did not reveal the name of the new search product and instead used a code name: “Kiev,” said sources.

JWT joined the Microsoft roster in July 2008, when it won global creative duties on the client’s business solutions products.

That assignment, with estimated media spending of $150 million, also came after a review in which McCann was the other finalist. In January, JWT launched its first business solutions campaign, a TV and print effort that uses the tagline, “Because it’s everybody’s business.” TV spots use animation to illustrate the words of corporate honchos talking about how they use enterprise software.