J Walter Thompson Europe is slashing various offices in a rad-ical overhaul of its European operations.
The restructure of its agency network involves closing down small offices and clustering them into “supranational” regional offices.
The plans are the brainchild of JWT Europe’s president Michael Madel. The new structure will involve offices that currently operate in smaller markets with fewer resources merging with their larger neighbours.
“The idea is to have one agency staffed by the best poss-ible people in the region,” he says. “A concentration of resources will result in an upgrade of the quality of the product.”
He also says it is a response to client demand: “Clients such as Kodak have already begun to cluster operations on a regional basis. Shell is considering doing the same.”
Madel says JWT has 30 offices in 24 European countries, but the newly-structured operation could bring the number of European offices down to as little as seven within five years.
For instance, a new regional agency could operate in Stock-holm, which will cover the Nordic region and will result in the closure of offices in other Nordic countries. It is likely that media operations will also be merged.
Madel believes the new structure could get round the problem of having agencies which are weak in some markets and therefore unable to give international clients proper service. The merged agency could combine the full range of resources in a single agency, he says.
Certain markets, including the UK, will have their own operations, but Germany will control the German-speaking markets of Austria and Switzerland, and Spain will control Iberia. Eastern Europe will also have merged agency operations.
JWT is particularly weak in France, where it is the 13th-biggest billing agency.
Madel says the French market is a particular concern for JWT, but he expects to have the situation resolved in the next two months. It is likely that JWT will buy, and merge with, an outside agency.
Madel became president in September last year, succeeding Miles Colebrook, who was promoted to group president international. Madel had previously been chairman and chief executive of JWT Germany.
The Madel initiative fits with JWT co-president Chris Jones’ Total Branding programme, which was established last year. It seeks to integrate all marketing elements into a single package.
According to Madel, some European countries have expertise in certain areas such as creativity, market research, or direct marketing. Merging operations brings all of disciplines into one agency and helps to concentrate effort.
JWT’s European clients include Jaguar, Mazda, Kellogg, Nestlé, Unilever and Heineken.