Jaguar Asks Ogilvy & Mather To Create a ‘Common Language’

By Michael McCarthy

NEW YORK–Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide has won a global corporate identity assignment from client Jaguar Cars.

The new assignment, which the agency won without a review, comes amid speculation that Jaguar will seek to consolidate its estimated $60 million global account at a single agency. Ogilvy currently splits the business around the world with sister WPP Group agency J. Walter Thompson Worldwide.

Mark Miller, a representative for Jaguar North America in Mahwah, N.J., confirmed that the client recently awarded Ogilvy a global ‘brand identity’ assignment.

The nonadvertising assignment involves ‘defining how the company speaks to itself,’ said Miller, and creating ‘a common language’ for Jaguar’s employees and agencies. Eventually, the assignment could affect all the company’s communications, including advertising and direct marketing efforts, Miller said.

Ogilvy convinced Jaguar to do a brand identity study by illustrating how such efforts have helped Ogilvy clients IBM and Ford Motor Co., sources said. Ogilvy is currently working on a new image campaign for Ford after winning the company’s corporate assignment from Wells Rich Greene BDDP last year. Ford bought the British luxury car maker in 1989.

The next step for Jaguar, said sources, could be to stage a face-off between Ogilvy and JWT. Ogilvy currently handles Jaguar North America–the company’s largest market with nearly 50 percent of sales–Jaguar Canada and Jaguar Spain, and will launch the nameplate in Mexico. JWT handles ads for Jaguar Cars Ltd. in Britain, most of Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.

The sibling rivalry between the two WPP agencies for Jaguar’s business is mirrored by a tug-of-war between the car maker’s dual management teams in North America and Britain, said sources.

Jaguars’ top executives are currently at the ‘conversation stage’ about the pros and cons of an agency consolidation, said sources.

When asked whether the agencies would compete for a unified account later this year, Miller said, ‘I suppose anything is possible, but we have no plans for a consolidation.’ –with Hank Kim

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