Although it had always remained a full-fledged member of the J Walter Thompson global network, the Australian outpost was until recently a joint venture with local marketing services group STW, originally founded by advertising legend John Singleton. The latter had made such a success of running the Australia arm of J Walter Thompson's sister network Ogilvy & Mather, that in 2001 WPP recruited STW as its joint venture partner in all its other existing agencies in Australia and New Zealand. Another subsequent restructuring saw the takeover of STW by WPP to form what is now WPP AUNZ. A further global realignment in 2019 resulted in the merger of WPP's Wunderman and JWT networks to form Wunderman Thompson. There are three outposts of what is now Wunderman Thompson in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as well as a small collection of satellite units including digital agency Mirum, content and social specialist Colloquial and digital production unit Webling. J Walter Thompson Australia CEO John Gutteridge moved up to regional CEO for the whole of Asia Pacific in 2017 and was not directly replaced. Following the merger with Wunderman he returned to Australia as CEO of the combined agency for Australia & New Zealand for a year, before departing in June 2020. His successor is Lee Leggett. Joao Braga was named as chief creative officer at the end of 2020. See also the Adbrands profile of the main Wunderman Thompson network.
Capsule checked 3rd January 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 10th Jun 2021: "Wizards & Sorcerors". Even wizards and sorcerors occasionally need a break... Wunderman Thompson's Australian outpost has increasingly taken the lead on the global KitKat creative account. Few other offices in the network have contributed any notable ads in recent years, while WT Australia (and predecessor JWT) has been hitting them out of the park since 2015 with films like 'Katapult' and 'Wild West' and the latest series. This time around, the campaign envisages a wizard and sorceror encountering the same sort of everyday issues experienced by ordinary mortals. Fine work from local film and TV icon Michael Caton and a great comic turn by Maori actor Miritana Hughes.
Adbrands Social Media 16th May 2019: "Wild West". Kit Kat ads don't come along that often these days, but they're usually worth the wait when they arrive. And it's rare indeed that we get not just one but a whole series. Newly merged Wunderman Thompson Australia has unveiled a collection of different spots for Nestlé's star product. It continues what has been a generally strong run from predecessor agency JWT Australia, which also created the excellent 'Katapult' spot the year before last. The best gags in the new series of ads rely on the comic anomaly of applying modern day digital conveniences like GPS and passwords to Old West problems.
Adbrands Social Media 23rd Jan 2019: "What's Your Perfect Bowl?". There's nothing particularly out of the ordinary in J Walter Thompson's latest campaign for Kellogg's in Australia, but its warmth and lightness of touch take it a cut above your usual cereal ad. The casting in particular is first-rate. Unusually for a TV ad, JWT hired specialist casting agent Lucky Price, best-known for his work on long-running local reality show 'The Block', to find real-life cereal fans for the campaign. "To have the opportunity to apply a television approach to casting an advertising campaign is really exciting," said Price. "From bikers to baristas, school teachers to surfers, you name it, we saw it. The quality of our submissions was incredible, and the final cast was whittled down from almost seven thousand respondents." That diligence pays dividends in the final film. Interesting to see some of the different pack branding Down Under too. "Rice Bubbles"?
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd May 2017: Ads of the Week: "Katapult". J Walter Thompson pokes some gentle fun at Ikea in this great Australian ad for Nestle's Kit Kat. It was about time we had another funny spot for Kit Kat, which has found plenty of humour over the years in the concept of "Have a break". More recently, though, Nestle has appeared to scale back its advertising for the brand. Perhaps they were just waiting for the right gag.
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