J. Walter Thompson here has formed a partnership with database specialists at the Phoenix Group to offer the complementary combined resources to current clients and seek new business.
Both JWT and Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Phoenix --a subsidiary of the Moore Corp.--count Ford Motor Co. as a client, according to Bob Panicara, a senior partner at JWT who helped put the partnership together. The new entity, Phoenix Thompson Connect, will be headquartered in Detroit, but plans rapid expansion through existing partnerships or acquisitions in Latin America and Europe--two regions where Ford continues to expand, Panicara said.
"Initially, we're looking at the international front, and that's where the focus is going to be in the short term," Panicara said. "Within North America we have a lot of resources available to us outside our organization. But some of the other countries don't have that luxury."
Phoenix Thompson Connect will be co-managed by both parent companies, although administrative details are still being finalized, Panicara said. JWT's Total Solutions Group, based in the agency's New York office, will also be involved.
"We see immediate application in those markets where multiple systems and multiple suppliers have made it challenging to clients," said Peter Schweitzer, JWT president and manager of the agency's Ford business.
Phoenix Thompson Connect is a customer-focused marketing organization that can unify marketing and communications based on the needs of each client, Schweitzer said.
With Ford their only common client, both parent entities are looking at each other's client roster with an eye on expansion, Panicara added.
JWT's strengths in advertising and marketing are complemented by Phoenix, which concentrates on customer relationship management, research and analysis, teleservicing, fulfillment and other areas where database manipulation can be useful, Panicara said.
"Typically an agency would have to outsource those services," he said. "We will have it all contained within one unit."
While agencies must sometimes contend with such suppliers also servicing other automakers, Phoenix is dedicated solely to Ford and its subsidiaries, which eliminates any possible conflict issues, he said.