Ford Dealers Near Finish Line

The Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Ford dealer association co-ops have both selected finalists in their respective account reviews. At stake in the separate pitches are a combined $15-20 million in billings.
The Washington, D.C., Ford Dealership Association has chosen two finalists in the review for its $10 million-plus advertising business: Earle Palmer Brown in Bethesda, Md., and the Detroit office of J. Walter Thompson.
J. Walter Thompson, Ford’s national advertising agency, recently won $30 million worth of Texas dealer business. Industry observers rate JWT a formidable contender in all of the current regional dealer reviews.
In contrast, the Baltimore Ford Dealership Association designated six agency finalists in the account review for its $5 million-plus advertising business: J. Walter Thompson in Detroit; Earle Palmer Brown in Bethesda; HMS Partners in Miami; Trahan Burden & Charles and John Marks Associates, both located in Baltimore; and Vulcan Automotive Merchandising of Birmingham, Ala.
Bob Bell, of Bob Bell Ford and chairman of the Baltimore Ford Dealership Association, confirmed the finalists. Sources said the Baltimore co-op is especially concerned with local service.
Agency presentations for both dealerships are scheduled for the third week in February, and a decision will be imminent, according to Bell.
The regional business is part of the $80-100 million worth of Ford dealership advertising work that W.B. Doner & Co. in Southfield, Mich., resigned last month to assume responsibilities for the national account of Mazda North American Operations.
Doner’s Baltimore office has handled the advertising accounts of the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Ford dealership associations. The agency will continue to act in that capacity until new shops are selected.