Ford names Omnicom's BBDO as lead creative agency in blow to WPP

WPP predecessor J. Walter Thompson helped Ford create the tagline

Ford Motor Co. has selected BBDO as its lead creative agency, replacing WPP in that role.

"Working together to help build the future of the Ford Motor Company is as big, as interesting and as exciting as it gets", Neal Arthur, managing director, W+K NY, says in a statement.

Additionally, Ford has added Wieden + Kennedy of Portland, Ore., as a creative partner for specific projects, including a new ad campaign that will launch in the fourth quarter.

The new advertising model will bring Ford $150 million in efficiencies a year, the automaker said without giving further details.

Ford has also committed to 100 in-house marketing jobs as part of its new agency model.

BBDO's president and chief executive, Andrew Robertson, said: "Today is a big, big day".

Joy Falotico, Ford group vice president and chief marketing officer described the changes as a "pivotal moment of reinvention and transformation" for the group.

The news comes amid CEO Jim Hackett's companywide reorganization efforts.

The company is preparing to overhaul its North American product portfolio as it transitions away from cars to pickups and utilities.

According to AdAge, Ford is the seventh-largest advertiser in the US, spending $2.4 billion domestically, and $4.1 billion globally.

WPP, which had created an entire agency to support Ford, said it would continue to handle some advertising work for the auto giant in the US, the China advertising operations, advertising for Ford's luxury vehicle brand Lincoln and all Ford's public relations.

"We accept this hard decision with our heads held high", Satish Korde, who leads WPP's work on the Ford account, said in an internal memo.

WPP said in a separate statement it would continue to handle Tier Two advertising work for Ford in the United States, the China advertising operations, advertising for Ford's luxury vehicle brand Lincoln and all Ford's public relations.

WPP, which has worked with Ford since 1943, has however retained much of Ford's most profitable work, such as media planning and buying and customer retention following a five-month review by the automaker.

WPP predecessor J. Walter Thompson helped Ford create the tagline "There's a Ford in your future!" in 1945.

"We gave this review everything we had: it was an extraordinary effort by the entire global team over many, many months", Global Team Blue CEO Satish Korde stated in an internal agency memo.

Major WPP clients have put a raft of work out for review this year, putting pressure on the market leader.

WPP initially won the Ford account 75 years ago and subsequently created dedicated Ford Motors agencies which rebranded from Team Detroit, Blue Hive and Retail First to Global Team Blue (GTB), in 2016.

A spokeswoman for WPP declined to comment on the question of fees.

BBDO begins transitioning to its new role on November 1, working closely with Ford's team of ad agencies and company marketing experts.

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