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JWT to Close Chicago Office

By Tim State in News on Apr 4, 2009 11:55PM

Kraft was one of the account losses that lead to the demise of JWT's Chicago office. Image by Greencolander.
A chapter is closing in the history of Chicago advertising, after JWT’s North American president Rosemarie Ryan traveled from New York to Chicago Friday to deliver the news to the company’s 50 employees that the Chicago office would be closing. JWT has roots in Chicago date back to 1891, and the Chicago office has battled with the New York office throughout its history to shine as the crown jewel in the JWT network. At one time, the Chicago office was the largest office of the world’s largest advertising agency.

In JWT’s Chicago history is some of the most iconic advertising to ever be produce. From the jingle, “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,” to 7-Up’s “Uncola” campaign.

The Chicago office lost the key Miller Brewing Company account in 2003, and then in 2007, lost Northfield-based Kraft foods. At that time, there were 120 associates in the Chicago office, and the loss of Kraft led to speculation the office may be closed.

On Friday, Ryan explained that New York continues to be the center for business growth for JWT. Chicago-based accounts Nestle and Kimberly-Clark will be moved to New York. The Illinois Bureau of Tourism account is up for review, and pending that outcome, a satellite office may remain open to service that account. There is not yet a date for when the office will close. [Trib, Ad Age]