Symantec Shifts $25 Mil. Business to JWT

The business and several account-side members of the Symantec team have shifted from Ogilvy & Mather, here, across town to J. Walter Thompson, following what sources said was client dissatisfaction with creative. Ogilvy, Los Angeles, chairman and CEO, Jerry McGee, is moving to lead the account at JWT, sources said.

In a meeting several weeks ago with Ogilvy, the client “was very strident and to the point” about its unhappiness with the creative direction, said one source.

“Creative is an issue,” acknowledged another source. “WPP felt that JWT was a better fit for Symantec.” The source added that McGee “has a very good relationship with the senior people at Symantec.”

McGee was unavailable for comment. Ogilvy execs did not return calls; JWT officials declined comment.

“We are working closely with the WPP Group to take full advantage of their broad range of global resources,” said Symantec svp, brand manager Don Frischmann in a statement. “We’ve agreed we can best accomplish that by working through J. Walter Thompson.”

This past spring, Ogilvy’s Atlanta office closed, and its staff and clients merged into JWT’s offices there. In Feb ruary 2000, Ogilvy’s Houston office merged with JWT in Houston. A merger of the two is not imminent in Los Angeles, sources said.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based cli ent awarded its account to Ogilvy early last year following a review. The shop’s work this year for Symantec includes print ads showing men in yellow suits and sunglasses. In one, the men stand on a build ing ledge, guarding computers inside.

Ogilvy L.A. has had a mixed year. The shop lost the $20 million Mail Boxes Etc. account in February but added the estimated $10 million Viking River Cruises business in June. It claimed billings of nearly $190 million in 2000.