Why’s it such a hot seat? Because JWT (or J. Walter Thompson as we’re now supposed to call it, again) has had more creative directors on either side of the Atlantic than you could shake a stick at in recent years.
The last global CCO, Eastwood’s new job, was fellow Aussie Craig Davis who quit in a combination of exhaustion and frustration in 2009 despite doing a manful job raising the network’s creative standards in all sorts of places nobody had previously much thought about.
But JWT seems set on a new path in the wake of the imminent departure of long-suffering CEO Bob Jeffrey. Long-suffering because JWT, even though it’s WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s favourite agency (buying JWT in the 1980s put WPP in the big time) has lost out as WPP has struck holding company deals with its biggest clients. Its renaming as J. Walter Thompson was spilt by Sorrell at a Wall Street Journal conference in January, thereby depriving Jeffrey of his headline-worthy swan song.
Anyway, former McCann account baron Gustavo Martinez is taking over as president and new global CCO Eastwood (left) is departing DDB New York to form a dynamic duo at the helm of J. Walter Thompson (the venerable agency is 150 years old this year).
Well let’s hope Martinez and Eastwood can restore JWT to its former glories. It can happen inside WPP as Ogilvy boss Miles Young and Grey boss Jim Heekin (as different as chalk and cheese) have shown. Stand up to Sorrell is the message – but that’s harder at JWT as he thinks it’s his baby.
As for Eastwood, he has a good record of achievement at DDB and has also served time at WPP’s Y&R. His CV is a rather worrying list of awards rankings but that seems to be name of the big agency/holding company creative game these days.
Wait for the revelations of ‘who spent what at Cannes’ to emerge blinking into the spotlight