JWT's desire to become a more potent force in the Kiwi ad landscape just got a big fillip with the announcement that it has won the PlaceMakers account and will take control of the whole shebang, including creative, media, trade, loyalty and retail.
Ogilvy won the account in 2008 but, when PlaceMakers, the retail arm of Fletcher Building, decided to review all its supplier relationships in November, Ogilvy head honcho Greg Partington "made the strategic decision" not to repitch for the advertising business.
Simon Lendrum, who took over as managing director at JWT from Simon Fitch last year, was stoked with the win and said it's great for the agency, but he wouldn't be drawn on how much the account was worth (with annual turnover of close to $1 billion, it's a biggun) or who else was involved in the pitch (it was rumoured that .99, TBWA\, DDB and Y&R were in the running).
JWT will be working with direct marketing agency Twenty on the account but, as for the PlaceMakers plans, his lips remained sealed.
"I can't allude to anything yet. As with all pitch processes, we've passed the exam question and now it's about figuring out how we can start working together," he says.
When Fitch departed, he said his predecessor John Gutteridge had done plenty of hard work in his two year tenure breathing new life into an agency that had become something of a neglected international outpost, with the staff roster growing from eight to 20. And Lendrum says the win is a clear indication of intent for JWT, which, with a 50/50 mix of international and local clients (and a very well-regarded head of planning in Jacqueline Smart), now has a "very good balance".
"I think we've been a solid agency for many years, but we hope to get significantly larger ... We've got a clear plan of where we're moving," he says.