Internal Memo: GTB CEO Satish Korde Responds to Ford Selecting BBDO as Lead Creative Agency

By Erik Oster 

Today Ford announced that it has concluded the global creative review it launched back in April, introducing a new agency model and selecting BBDO as its new lead creative agency.

As part of that model, WPP will continue to act as activation agency for Ford, tasked with media buying and planning, as well as shopper and performance marketing, website development, customer relationship marketing, multicultural and Tier 2 dealer advertising. The selection of BBDO still marks a significant setback for WPP, however, marking the end of its long reign as lead advertising partner for the automaker, which was the holding company’s largest client. Ford also selected W+K as innovation partner for certain projects.

GTB CEO Satish Korde delivered the news to WPP’s dedicated agency for Ford today, stating that the holding company is “assessing the impact and implications” of the decision as it works with Ford during the transitional process, which “cannot be fully determined until more detail is known.”

We’ve included the memo in full below:

Dear Team,

Today WPP Group LTD was informed that we have been named the global brand activation agency for Ford Motor Company. WPP, through its global Ford agency GTB, will handle all the digital, media buying and planning, and production aspects of the Ford advertising business. This also includes Tier II advertising work in the U.S., the China advertising operations with the joint venture partner, all Lincoln advertising, and all the Ford public affairs businesses. WPP/GTB did not, however, retain the omnichannel or creative portion of the business.

WPP/GTB will work with Ford for a smooth transition of the brand creative work that will be handled by a different agency over the next several months, which was the outcome of the agency review begun earlier this year. WPP is assessing the impact and implications of this decision, which cannot be fully determined until more detail is known.

As you all know, we gave this review everything we had: it was an extraordinary effort by the entire global team over many, many months. We accept this difficult decision with our heads held high and thank everyone for their contributions.

GTB has been Ford’s trusted partner for decades, having stood with it in both good times and crisis. We have conducted ourselves with loyalty, pride, honor and above all, outstanding work. We are by no means done as we continue to deliver on multiple fronts.

We will convene at 10 a.m. EST tomorrow (Tuesday) for a Townhall meeting in the Creative Lobby in Dearborn – which will also be live streamed globally – during which we will provide as much detail as possible around the latest news from Ford.