Departures at Team Detroit as Ford Focuses on Digital Work

By Patrick Coffee 

WPP’s Team Detroit has parted ways with a small number of employees today in a move that sources claim can be attributed to a slight shift in marketing strategy at Ford Motor Company.

From an agency spokesperson:

“This was simply the normal course of business for an ad agency working with an automotive client. The health of the organization is strong and while these transitions are always difficult, it is typical in our industry to remix talent as necessary in order to meet client objectives. The change was minimal and impacted less than 1 percent of the population.”


Since Team Detroit has over 1000 employees, this statement would place the total affected between 10 and 20.

It’s unclear at this time what the root cause of this change was or which departments were involved, but we hear that Ford looks to focus more extensively on its mobile and digital marketing in 2016 with less emphasis on TV and print campaigns.

The change would certainly not appear to be financial in nature: today the Wall Street Journal reports that Ford’s CEO Mark Fields earned $17.3 million in 2015, which was his first full year at the head of the auto giant. This impressive number, which primarily consists of stock awards/options and cash bonuses, was 17% higher than the total he earned in 2014.

2015 was a year of “record operating results” for Ford thanks, in large part, to the continued success of its bestselling F-150 model. The company’s stock price still fell by 8% over the calendar year primarily because investors worry that it has reached a state of peak profitability as Americans buy fewer new cars…though rising sales of American-made automobiles in Western Europe may counter that trend.

The company also introduced its new Escape model today, and the Ford Explorer–which remains the top-selling midsize SUV in the country–is particularly popular with the very group that advertisers try so hard to reach: Millennials.