A good year for Rainey/Y&R

Your article (MW November 30) on Young & Rubicam and Ford is so breathtakingly – and I would say of your source, deliberately – misguided that it would take another page to correct it.

Your article (MW November 30) on Young & Rubicam and Ford is so breathtakingly – and I would say of your source, deliberately – misguided that it would take another page to correct it. Please allow me to set your readers right on the major points of fact.

Ford has not “compensated” Y&R for the Ford business by awarding us Land Rover. It was a full-scale pitch in two stages – first against J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather, both of which were quickly eliminated, and then against HHCL and Grey. Land Rover voted Y&R the clear winner and its decision to appoint us was fully endorsed by the Premier Automotive Group.

Y&R is not “struggling” to make good its UK merger with Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe. Most disinterested observers would account it a howling success. The evidence is also the quality of the work. (Ford, Virgin Atlantic, Ericsson, Marks & Spencer, etc) and the new business coming through the UK doors (Marks & Spencer, Car Crime Prevention, Virginmoney.com, etc)

The Puma was not Y&R’s first European assignment. That was the Galaxy, for which we pitched against Ogilvy and Mather. Since then we have pitched against O&M and won every model up to and including the Focus, after which Ford acknowledged Y&R’s superiority by awarding us lead agency status in Europe.

Y&R has not “struggled to bed down the Ford account” or “failed to organise the agency and account management”. It has been a seamless operation in every respect from day one. Ask anyone at Ford. Look at the work Y&R has produced on Puma, Cougar, Focus and Ka. Struggling agencies do not achieve such quality.

Moreover, the Ford European business is used as a case study in training throughout the Y&R network as a perfect example of how to run an account.

The UK management changes did not, as you imply, damage the agency either in performance or in Ford’s eyes; they enhanced it. Toby Hoare’s involvement with Ford was minimal; and while I have the greatest respect for Sam Hurford’s talents, his reputation is not comparable with that of Robert Campbell and Mark Roalfe, who took over the creative leadership of the Ford account.

Y&R and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe do not have “clashing cultures”. If we did our merger would never have taken place. Both agencies have always made the creation of ideas their central theme – indeed Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe’s motto is “Ideas before advertising, ideas beyond advertising.”

To suggest that “Ford’s business may not have received the attention it required” is simply naive. It is no more possible to neglect Ford than it is with other demanding clients such as Proctor & Gamble.

“The end of a bad year for Rainey Kelly/Y&R?” In which wins included the new accounts mentioned above? And in which all our offices in Europe have put on extra business conservatively estimated at 20 per cent plus? And in which we launched new campaigns that have been universally praised? Nothing can conceivably justify such a statement.

The Ford Focus “moose” ad was produced not by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R but by Y&R Frankfurt.

The only comment in your article I would agree with is “Why Ford is keen to have O&M back is unclear”.

Bert Meerstadt

Chief Executive

Young & Rubicam Europe, Middle East & Africa

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