Ford picks BBDO as lead ad agency

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News
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Ford Motor Co. announced Monday the latest step in the automaker's cost-cutting gambit: New York City-based advertising agency BBDO is now the company's global creative advertising agency.

The decision comes roughly five months after The Wall Street Journal first reported the Blue Oval had started to review part of its advertising spending with London-based WPP PLC. Ford had been a top client for WPP since around 2000, according to Ford spokesman Said Deep.

The automaker had said in January that it planned to cut annual spending on marketing as part of billions of costs cuts planned elsewhere within the company. The automaker is currently mulling an $11 billion restructuring expected to bring cuts to salaried positions globally in addition to a $25.5 billion operational cost-cutting push.

More: How Ford is tackling restructuring

The automaker expects to save $150 million a year from the marketing switch. The changes will also create 100 new in-house marketing positions focused on brand design and customer experience, among other things.

WPP, which has an in-house team called GTB dedicated to the Ford portfolio, will remain part of a multi-agency team at handling media planning, media buying, shopper and performance marketing, website development and customer relationship marketing for Ford.

"Ford already is one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world," Joy Falotico, Ford group vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "In this pivotal moment of reinvention and transformation, we’re excited to partner with world-class creative agencies to unlock the full potential of the iconic Blue Oval."

The marketing switch comes ahead of a flood of new products expected to start in 2019 for the automaker. Ford will launch the 2019 Ranger, 2019 Lincoln Aviator and a redesigned Explorer and Escape, as CEO Jim Hackett and his team of executives work to right-side the company's global product lineup. 

Ford will cut all of its car models except for its Mustang in the next few years. Officials plan to launch more off-road and performance SUV variants over the next five years. By 2023, the automaker will have 23 nameplates in its lineup. The automaker said in March that nearly nine out of every 10 vehicles sold in 2020 will be a truck, SUV or commercial vehicle.

BBDO will assume its new role Nov. 1. Ford will also introduce a new brand campaign later this month for various vehicles.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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