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JWT goes to court to guard its ‘Pioneering Process’

More fun and games from New York where JWT chief communications officer Erin Johnson (she’s still on the books as far as we know) is suing JWT and just departed CEO Gustavo Martinez for alleged sexism and racism (including, allegedly, grabbing her by the throat).

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVwAAAAJDA5NTQyNDE3LWI3MzEtNGY1Mi1hMmUxLTkwMDA1OTIxYWRlMAJohnson (left) has a video showing Martinez addressing the troops at some sort of away day, which includes, allegedly, some of the above. JWT’s lawyers are objecting to it being shown in court as it also includes material related to “the development and testing of a process that is highly confidential and proprietary to JWT. This process, called the Pioneering Process, establishes best practices for JWT management around the world to work as a more connected network in delivering best ideas to clients. JWT has endeavored to keep the thinking behind the Process confidential and disclosure to competitors through a public filing would cause significant damage to it.”

I won’t add to the buckets of scorn already poured on this – my friend George Parker, now thankfully mended after a recent health MOT, leads the field, as ever.

But how on earth can JWT’s spin on WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s cherished ‘horizontality’ be of any possible use to a competitor? If you go back to 2014 you’ll find JWT saying it’s been doing this pioneering lark for 150 years. There are pages of ‘pioneering’ at JWT on Google. So it’s hardly a secret is it?

Poor old JWT. Wonder what one-time UK boss (and WPP director) Jeremy Bullmore makes of it all?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Remember when, a few years ago they announced they were no longer in the ad biz, but from now on would be… “Commercial Anthropologists!” That didn’t last long. Then they changed their name from JWT to J. Walter Thompson, then changed it back to JWT. As I say on AdScam “Pioneering Process” smacks of Masonic rites and Scientology bullshit. As dear old dead David used to say… “Stick to your knitting!” Is the ad biz fucked, or what?
    Cheers/George

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