Michael Madel’s “brainchild” – the idea of shutting down most of JWT’s European offices “JWT Europe in radical revamp” (MW May 8) – is rather longer in the tooth than your article suggests.
A remarkable man called Tom Sutton was managing director of JWT London from 1959-65, and then left to help run the head office in New York. In 1968, nearly 30 years before Michael had his brainchild, Tom gave a talk on International Advertising.
He said: “For advertising agencies, the powerful trend towards the greater use of campaigns on a multi-market basis by international advertisers may have the following implications…
“…The organisational structure of international agencies is likely to change. In the past ten years, more than l50 fully-controlled foreign offices have been opened by US and UK agencies alone, but rather than do what many international agencies do today, that is to provide full service in all the major markets – and often many minor ones too – they may in future have a small series of key offices concentrating on the guts of our business, concentrating on the creative side.
“In ten or 20 years’ time an international agency may be able to concentrate its creative resources into, perhaps, ten centres – let us say, New York, London, Paris, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Sydney, one to cover the important area from Japan to the Indian subcontinent, one in Black Africa, Moscow, and perhaps Peking. Some of these may be the wrong centres and others may more usefully take their place. But I can foresee such concentration of main offices with smaller service stations in other countries completing the agency networks.”
Reading Tom’s words again, it is clear he thought that just two full-service JWT offices in Europe – in London and Paris – would be plenty. According to your article, Michael Madel has only got it down to seven so far.