J. Walter Thompson was chosen last week to handle the $25 million New England Ford Dealers Association and will make presentations for two more dealer accounts within the next several weeks, said agency president Peter Schweitzer.
The agency, which now handles 52 of the 63 Ford dealer associations across the country, is scheduled to pitch for the $10-15 million Greater Michigan account later this week and the $10 million Washington, D.C., Ford Dealers Association in early February, he said.
The reviews were launched in November after W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., resigned all of its $80-100 million in Ford dealer business to take on the $240 million Mazda North American Operations account.
JWT picked up about $20 million in billings in Texas last month by adding the West Texas and North Texas Ford dealer groups to business it already handled in South Texas. Meanwhile, St. John & Partners, Jacksonville, Fla., was awarded the $5-10 million Pittsburgh Ford dealer account earlier this month. Still up for grabs is the $5-10 million Baltimore Ford dealer business.
In the Michigan pitch, JWT will compete against St. John & Partners and HMS Partners, Miami. Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, the other finalist in the New England review, withdrew in Michigan.
JWT was considered the favorite in the New England review from the start. Stoughton, Mass., Ford dealer Paul Bertoli said JWT's presentation "hit it right on target."
JWT has a service office in Boston and plans to bring in five additional people to service the account, Schweitzer said. Like the agency's other Ford dealer businesses, creative work will be handled out of the Detroit office. JWT has completely separate teams working on dealer business and the national Ford Division work, he added.