Welcome To Chicago, Ros

Lewis Lazare looks again at the fact that Chicago can be a tough town for advertising creatives. I’m careful to say, “cab be” not “is,” for Chicago has plenty of ad luminaries, now and in the past.

Ros King’s first year at the helm of JWT/Chicago hasn’t exactly been the smashing success she no doubt hoped when she took on the daunting task of turning around a local ad agency that has sagged badly in recent years.
And her first year as JWT’s president isn’t ending with a hoped-for bang. Sources report the Macy’s department store account is leaving JWT’s Chicago office and moving to the global agency’s flagship New York office, which recently has been focused on reinvigorating its creative product.
When she first arrived in the Windy City, King — with her crisp British diction — talked with pride about how much she previously had achieved running and growing JWT’s London office. And she seemed at the time to suggest she also could make more of JWT/Chicago than a couple of the top executives who preceded her were able to do.
But as King seems to have discovered, it’s hard to dramatically transform an agency like JWT/Chicago whose client mainstays for years have been extremely conservative packaged goods giants like Kraft and Nestle.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.