Ford to Study Consolidating Media Further

By Tanya Gazdik

DETROIT–Following the consolidation of $700 million in national media buying duties at J. Walter Thompson, Ford Motor Co. is considering consolidating $200 million-plus in spot TV buying, said David Ropes, Ford’s director of corporate advertising and integrated marketing.

Ropes will head a new JWT unit, called Ford Motor Media, that will buy media for the Ford division, Ford customer service, Ford corporate advertising, Lincoln-Mercury, Jaguar North America and Mazda Motors of America.

Media planning and creative duties remain at each division’s respective agency: JWT for Ford; Ogilvy & Mather here and in New York for Ford corporate, customer service and Jaguar; Young & Rubicam here for Lincoln-Mercury; and Foote, Cone & Belding in Los Angeles for Mazda. A Ford Motor Media operating committee, comprised of representatives from each agency and its client counterpart, will coordinate the media plans, Ropes said.

‘There’s going to be an interesting synergy when they realize that some of the other brands want similar kinds of things and there may be some efficiencies and effectiveness by realizing that,’ Ropes said.

Ford’s examination of its spot TV buying, which will still be handled by the individual agencies for the time being, may result in a consolidation, Ropes said. Ford division spot buying, about $80 million in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting, is now handled by JWT and will be shifted to the new entity. The other units spent a combined $215 million on spot TV in 1996, according to CMR.

Ford Motor Media will work with the recently announced JWT/O&M Alliance, which negotiates only network TV buying, Ropes said. The ultimate decision on such buys rests with Cindy Stacy, head of broadcast at Ford Motor Media, who also sits on the board of The Alliance.

Ford Motor Media also will take advantage of a new JWT system of buying cable TV time nationally while placing spots locally.

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