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Chicago Advertising Jobs Cut as JWT Closes

Posted on April 6, 2009

One company’s closing has resulted in the loss of several Chicago advertising jobs.

Advertising agency JWT has decided to close its Chicago office, meaning about 50 employees will lose their jobs. Following the loss of some large clients, the agency was reduced to a satellite operation of JWT’s New York office.

During 2003, JWT lost one of its major clients, Miller Brewing. Two years ago, one of the agency’s biggest clients, Kraft Foods, pulled almost $200 million worth of business out of JWT. Kraft moved eight major brands from JWT, including Miracle Whip, Kraft Singles and Ritz Crackers to other agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, Draftfcb, DDB and McGarryBowen.

Following those losses, JWT cut a quarter of its Chicago staff, former President Ros King and creative head Graham Woodall. That brought the company to its latest count of 50 employees, with management coming from the agency’s New York headquarters.

According to an article by Brand Republic, JWT had been a Chicago institution for 118 years. The agency was responsible for such legendary campaigns as Rice Krispies’ “Snap, Crackle, Pop” and 7Up‘s “Uncola.”

JWT Chicago’s remaining business, which includes Nestle ice cream products and a number of Kimberly-Clark brands, is expected to move to New York.

“In a business fueled by ideas and the people who create them, losing good people is the most wrenching decision an agency can make,” Rosemarie Ryan, JWT North America president, said in the article. “However, these are extremely challenging conditions and as a business, we have no choice but to respond to them.”

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