BBDO replaces WPP as Ford's lead global agency

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 9 October 2018

Ford has appointed BBDO as its global lead creative agency replacing WPP which has been the auto brand’s agency for more than 70 years.

The move sees WPP lose a chunk of what it regards as its largest global client, but it keeps its bespoke dedicated network, Global Team Blue (GTB), on the roster.

GTB was formed in 2014 as JWT, Wunderman and Mindshare were brought together to service the Ford account. The unit will continue to lead activation, the lucrative media buying and planning slice, shopper and performance marketing for WPP, as well as CRM and multicultural marketing.

The global shift ends JWT's long-standing relationship with Ford having won the account in 1943.

It also sees Ford bolster its in-house marketing with 100 global marketing positions tied to brand design, media tools, technologies and partnerships as well as digital labs and customer experience.

Ford, which spent US$4.3 billion on advertising in 2016, also appointed Wieden & Kennedy to its roster as a creative and innovation partner for specific projects.

The appointment marks the end of a global review which kicked off in April and aims to help Ford target US$150 million in "annual efficiencies" as part of what it describes as a "more agile marketing model”.

Omnicom-owned BBDO begins transitioning to the new role on 1 November, working closely with the rest of Ford’s agency roster and its internal marketing team.

Omnicom's digital experience agency Organic and TLGG Consulting will be part of the team handling the business.

Ford group VP and chief marketing officer Joy Falotico said in a statement it is a “pivotal moment of reinvention and transformation” for the brand as it welcomes its new creative agencies.

In an internal memo to all staff, obtained by AdWeek, GTB CEO Satish Korde said the agency accepts the “difficult decision with our heads held high”.

“As you all know, we gave this review everything we had: it was an extraordinary effort by the entire global team over many, many months,” he said.

“GTB has been Ford’s trusted partner for decades, having stood with it in both good times and crisis. We have conducted ourselves with loyalty, pride, honour and above all, outstanding work. We are by no means done as we continue to deliver on multiple fronts.”

The note also summarised the scope of work retained by GTB, which includes public relations and all marketing in China, adding that “WPP will work closely with Ford on the shape of its future relationship and the impact on its people".

Over the past year Ford overhauled its senior leadership, with Jim Hackett becoming CEO in May and Falotico, the former boss of Ford Credit, taking on the role of CMO.

It's likely redundancies will be made within GTB which has already endured a difficult year, parting with its CCO Toby Barlow, and firing more than 100 employees in Michigan, London and Shanghai in 2017, according to reports.

AdNews has contacted WPP and BBDO on how this move will impact the Australian market. It's still unclear if the move will impact Clemenger Melbourne's relationship with BWM.

In Australia, Ford spent $19.8m on media over the last 12 months, according to figures provided by Nielsen. Including individual Ford deals, the spend jumps to $33m.

This week GTB launched the last campaign for Ford in Australia, launching the Raptor model:

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