JWT closes shop, ending an era.

April 4, 2009

And then we came to the end…

The shuttering of JWT Chicago caught me by surprise. I felt the exact opposite as when I found out about the Chicago Bears acquiring Jay Cutler. Stunned. Both events represented the end of eras. One delightful. One not.

I don’t mean to be glib. I feel terrible. JWT has been a part of the Chicago advertising scene longer than the Bears were a sports franchise.

I’m going to write a more thoughtful piece about JWT Chicago. It deserves better than this. Many of my friends and colleagues worked at this once-venerable office. I, myself, almost worked there three times. Again, I’ll go into this more on Monday.

For now, I’m going to bed. But not without saying my prayers. God bless the 50 souls who lost their jobs today. And thank you for mine.

12 Responses to “JWT closes shop, ending an era.”

  1. YUSEF said

    JWT Chicago does deserve better. Than this AWFUL post.

  2. W. Simmons said

    Moved from Western Avenue-(ORD).
    To the Western Addition-(SFO).

    Knew ZIP about San Francisco.
    Simply put, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Then one day I went to see the SOX V. A’s across the breach, at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. The minute I cleared the Bay Bridge, the Fog lifted and the sun revealed what had long been shrouded, and it became clear!
    I’d heard of it before but it had no relevance, it meant nothing to me:

    — Gertrude Stein

    Ya’ Ya’ Ya’ NOW I GET IT!

    Well I worked at J. Walter/Chicago, and I enjoyed it!

    There’s an old joke that gets bandied about in film crews,
    I’ll try to do it justice? The hieracrchy is something like this;


    Apparently, amongst the film crews, the grips rank low on the TOTEM
    and therefore catch much of the gruff. The joke –as told to me by the Assistant A.D. goes:


    Yeah but GUY!
    What does all that have to with J. Walter Thompson?

    O.K., O.K., it’s Saturday here and I’m killing time before the Final 4 starts!
    It’s this, or perform my mandatory Pasadena F.D. MANDATORY BRUSH CLEARANCE compliance. So I’m opting to languor over this tripe,
    hoping that my wife will be duped by my deceit?

    Anyway… back to JWT! In my 3 years there, EVEN I (a grunt ACD)
    could tell that there was “NO THERE THERE.” Whatever momentum they once had (and they did; UNCOLA/KRAFT/O-S-C-A-R) long ago had moved on.
    So too am I saddened –as a former alum– but why sob over it?


  3. SRP said

    Hey Yusef or your real name: blairdorota@gmail.com

    I hope your Cobra runs out just before you fuck off and die.

  4. Des said

    Thoughts go out to Gary, Jim and the rest of the guys. It’s a shame the network couldn’t save the shop. The Chicago ad community just got a little less interesting.

  5. Steffan…
    As I posted on AdScam… Truly sad. I look forward to reading your post on Monday. And yes, Yusef is a Fucktard… But you already knew that.

  6. Yusef,

    May the fleas of a thousand camels infest in your armpits.

  7. Thanks George-
    Normally, I don’t go off on trolls but this Yusef character caught me at a bad time. However, he’s right about one thing: JWT Chicago deserves better than a blog post.

  8. Ferris said

    As a former Chicago Wally World employee (yes, that’s how we referred to it internally), there was a fair amount of anguish beset where the agency was going vs. the current management (I’m talking about you, Sir Poisoned Dwarf).

    The long slow decline was agonizing. The capacity to do great work existed. Great folks worked there. Some are still there as the ship goes down.

    I am shocked and horrified and just saddened at all of it. And my ambivalent feelings toward the place don’t make it any better.

    I can’t believe it has come to this.

  9. Ray Helmers said

    Long live JWT, Chicago.
    It deserves more than an angry or clever post –
    perhaps a social networking group for
    alums. We are many.

  10. Steve said

    I’m almost certain that “Ogilvy” is not far enough from JWT’s downward spiraled fate..

    The Ogilvy has run for a while(to be exact more than 5years) with almost NO business. Its simple No Business and mounting expenses to run the big elephant, to top it all so called management committed to run the company down the ground..

    I’m surprised to see Ogilvy is still standing! Its a painful slower death but be assured its right around the corner.


  11. SRP said

    Thanks, Gary, for your take and for word of your blog.

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