Ford Task Force Approves WPP Contract

DETROIT An internal task force that came together to study Ford Motor Co.’s relationship with WPP Group has given its blessing to the automaker signing a global contract with the holding company, the client said.

The actual signing is “likely to happen sometime next year,” said Karen Shaughnessy, a Ford representative. She declined to be specific on the timing. “This is really just a natural evolution of our partnership with WPP. We feel it makes good business sense to maximize that relationship.”

Ford spent about $1.3 billion on ads in 2002 for the brands currently handled by WPP Group agencies, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The global contract will replace regional contracts that are currently signed with each of the WPP agencies working for Ford. These include J. Walter Thompson Detroit, which handles Ford division; Young & Rubicam, Dearborn, Mich. and Irvine, Calif., which oversees Lincoln Mercury, Land Rover, Jaguar and Ford Credit; and Ogilvy & Mather, Dearborn and New York, which handles Ford.