JWT Celebrates a Century With Unilever

21 November 2002

An client-agency relationship lasting ten year is sufficient cause to break-out the champagne. But how do you celebrate if you’ve just notched a century of connubial bliss with your second largest global client?

Book London’s massive, trendy new art gallery Tate Modern, for starters. Then throw a dinner for two hundred key staff – past and present – from both sides of the fence, and stage a retrospective exhibition marking the highlights of one hundred years together.

Which is what J Walter Thompson did Wednesday.

Guests from the Anglo-Dutch household and personal products giant were led by Niall Fitzgerald (chairman of Unilever plc) and his Unilever NV counterpart Antony Burgmans. Heading the JWT party was president/ceo Peter Schweitzer.

Introducing the exhibition, Schweitzer told guests: “The history of modern advertising is, in many ways, the history of our brand building heritage together. The future is as unlimited as the imagination, innovation and commitment both companies are demonstrating today across countries and cultures.”

A US press ad in 1902 marked the start of the ties between the two companies, culminating in the longest ever working relationship between an agency and a multinational client. Since when JWT has launched (and still handles) such famed global brands as Lux, Sunsilk, Thermasilk, Timotei, Close-Up, Lever 2000, Persil, Knorr, Ragu and Lipton.

Back in the 1930s JWT was responsible for the groundbreaking Lux Radio Theatre, hosted by legendary Hollywood director Cecil B De Mille and starring many of Tinseltown’s biggest names.

Happy anniversary!

Data sourced from: AdAgeGlobal.com; additional content by WARC staff