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WPP put on notice as Ford launches global creative review

Automotive manufacturer, Ford, has launched a global review of its creative account, which currently sits within WPP.

The announcement comes less than a week after the departure of CEO Martin Sorrell and marks a major blow for the beleaguered advertising giant.

Ford, which spends more than one billion dollars annually on marketing in the US alone, is one of WPP’s biggest clients.

In Asia, Ford works with WPP’s dedicated bespoke Ford Motors agency, GTB, which rebranded from Blue Hive last year.

Formed by WPP in 2015 as a joint venture between Wunderman, Ogilvy and Mindshare, the South East Asian operation is currently led from Bangkok by Paul Grubb, a creative veteran of Publicis and Lowe.

The agency made a series of viral films last year that showed Ford cars falling from the sky across Thailand.

GTB also has bases in New Delhi, Shanghai and Melbourne.

According to Reuters, Ford’s review of its ad operations does not include accounts with WPP in China.

However, last year, Ford is understood to have discontinued some of its with work WPP after signing a partnership with Alibaba.

The US manufacturer also reduced its technology account it had with APD, causing the agency to scale back its China operation.

As published in AdWeek, a spokesperson from GTB, said the agency was “informed that its creative business with Ford is up for review”.

“WPP/GTB is the most capable, passionate, informed and dedicated partner to build Ford’s vision of the future.

“We will be enthusiastically responding to Ford’s request for review in the days ahead.”

A Ford spokesperson also told the US publication in a statement: “They are trusted partners and curators of the Ford brand. We don’t share private business matters but can tell you we have offered WPP more specifics about our marketing redesign and operational fitness aspirations.”

The spokesperson said the company will “place some portions of our advertising business up for bid with other agencies, including WPP, beginning in the coming weeks. No decisions have been made.”

WPP APAC has been contacted for further comment.

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