People are saying the death of JWT Chicago is another sign of the city's ill ad scene. Wrong. It's a result of a poorly run agency.
I dropped by JWT Chicago a year ago to see a friend. It was such a cool space: huge windows, high ceilings, on one entire floor of the Merchandise Mart. I thought, 'this is what an agency should be.' Only it was empty; I saw about a half-dozen people, and this was on a Tuesday morning.
Now it's a ghost town, literally. Or soon will be. Is that sad? Very. Some super-talented people work there, my ex-partner among them. Is it surprising? No. I'm lucky to work for an agency run by generally smart, forward-thinking people, and there wasn't much of that in evidence in the people who ran JWT Chicago. Or evidence that the larger holding company cared about the office.
That's the lesson. Nothing more, nothing less.