JWT’s Barlow to Lead Ford Creative

CHICAGO Toby Barlow, one of nine executive creative directors at WPP Group’s JWT in New York, is moving to Detroit to work on the agency’s Ford account, according to the shop.

Barlow replaces Tom Cordner as the top creative on the business; Cordner is leaving the shop.

Ford spent $1.6 billion last year on U.S. ads alone and more than $1 billion through the first seven months of 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

According to an internal memo by JWT worldwide president and CEO Bob Jeffrey, Barlow was a “natural choice” to direct creative development on the account, having built a relationship with Detroit president, CEO George Rogers and director of strategy Mike Bentley while helping craft Ford’s “Bold moves” campaign.

“Toby has been a go-to executive for me before,” Jeffrey said in the memo. “His progressive views and curious approach to the evolving creative and media landscape give me confidence that he will bring inventive ideas to Ford during these important times.”

Barlow will report to JWT N.Y. co-president and chief creative officer Ty Montague.

“Toby is a great creative talent who is comfortable working in both traditional and non-traditional media,” Montague said, in a statement. “His work at JWT has been instrumental in setting the bar, and we are thrilled to promote him.”

Cordner, worldwide creative director, is leaving the agency to “pursue other opportunities,” according to Jeffrey’s memo. Last November, Cordner began splitting his time between Los Angeles and Detroit while continuing to oversee creative on the account. He could not immediately be reached late Tuesday.

“Tom has made a very powerful impact on the Ford business,” Jeffrey said. “I want to personally thank him for what I would characterize as some of the best work we have ever done for Ford.”

In addition to working on the Ford account in New York, Barlow also led creative on KIeenex, Diamond Trading Co. and Welch’s.