Young & Rubicam and its below-the-line sister agency WCJ are restructuring their Ford operations in preparation for a head-on pitch with Ogilvy & Mather for the launch of the new model replacing the Escort.
Sources say a dedicated Ford team is being set up, led by Y&R board account director Paul Venn with Y&R joint deputy creative director Sam Hurford and WCJ joint managing director Gerry Docherty.
The team is believed to be stalking the account for the launch of Ford’s CW170 model, a medium-sized replacement for the Escort. Ford insists the account will be assigned to O&M in all European markets except Germany. The car will be launched in the UK in September.
O&M remains Ford’s lead European agency but has lost about 80m of potential business to Y&R in the past three years. Y&R has created pan-European campaigns for the Galaxy and Puma with work appearing later this year for Lincoln and Cougar. Efforts are being made to shore up WCJ’s Ford unit in the wake of top level departures through closer integration with Y&R.
WCJ md John Shaw quit after a disagreement over direction (MW January 15) and creative director Steve Aldridge has also resigned.
An industry insider claims WCJ’s Ford team will soon move from Surrey to Y&R’s central London HQ.
Peter Townsend, Ford Europe’s marketing communications manager, says: “Both agencies will be developing ads – Y&R for Germany and O&M for the rest of Europe.”
Venn says: “We are looking at the structure of the Ford business in the UK and how best to handle it.”