February 28th marked the appearance of what was billed as a billion dollar start-up. The 144 year old advertising company, J. Walter Thompson, said that it was reinventing itself and changing its name to JWT. You can check out what this means at the JWT website. The following quote from the home page will give you an idea of what it’s all about.
We passionately believe advertising has a future, but only if we stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
They say they’re pioneers who are trail-blazing. I found this all slightly amusing for two reasons. Some decades ago, I used to work for J. Walter Thompson in its London office on Berkeley Square in the West End. We all knew it then as JWT so what’s all this noise about now.
More importantly, the realization as typified in the quote seems a few years late in coming. We’re now in 2005. Seth Godin published his book, “Permission Marketing”, in May 1999. How come JWT only now understands that the customer is in the driving seat. I would assume most of its clients have been aware of this for some time.