Texas Ford Dealers Park Their $30 Mil. At JWT

J. Walter Thompson has been awarded the business of three regional Ford dealer groups in Texas with a combined $30 million in ad spending.
The accounts went into review last month after W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., resigned its regional Ford dealer business to take on the national account of Mazda North American Operations. The remaining loose Ford dealer accounts are worth an estimated $50-70 million and include New England, Greater Michigan, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
In addition to serving as Ford’s national agency, JWT has handled advertising for 48 of the 63 Ford dealer associations and is expected to be a contender for all the dealer accounts resigned by Doner.
The agency is looking forward to expanding its relationship with the Texas dealer network, said Bob McClowry, JWT executive vice president and management director on the Ford division account in the U.S., including Ford dealer groups. JWT already handled the South Texas Ford dealer group account, and the win includes the 100-member Texas Ford dealers group operating largely in West Texas, the 60-member North Texas dealer group based in Dallas and three dealers in El Paso.
“We’ve admired that association for a long time,” McClowry said. “They’re very forward-thinking and very aggressive in the marketplace, and that just fits perfectly with us. [Texas] is one of the most important markets in the automotive arena.”
John Boyle, executive director of the three Texas groups, said committee members agreed to assign the business to JWT after informally screening shops in Dallas and Austin. “We talked to some agencies that told us they did brand building, but our ads need to be deal-oriented,” Boyle said. “JWT understood what we needed and has the experience from working with other dealer groups.”