JWT’s Howting, Rooke Expand Ford Roles

By Tanya Gazdik

DETROIT–J. Walter Thompson here has created a new creative position in response to its expanding business with Ford Motor Co., according to agency president Peter Schweitzer.

Dick Howting takes the new title of executive vice president and global creative director of the Ford global business unit. Succeeding Howting as executive creative director for the Ford domestic account is Bruce Rooke, formerly senior partner and creative director on the Jaguar U.K. and the Ford truck, motor sports and Citibank business.

Howting’s new role includes advising on domestic and international creative work for Ford as well as for Jaguar and Mazda, which are controlled by Ford Motor Co.

‘We’ve got assignments from Jaguar, Mazda and Ford all over,’ Schweitzer said. ‘What we’re looking for Dick to do is to help us define and enhance our creative standards, the way we approach the business, to help us staff in the various areas and generally to monitor not only the quality of our creative (work), but (to establish) some competitive benchmarking.’

JWT handles Mazda’s European advertising and all Jaguar international advertising outside North America. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles the North American assignment, while JWT has the remainder–about 45 percent of Jaguar’s total advertising budget–including duties in the United Kingdom and Germany. ‘We have all sorts of relationships with Ford,’ Schweitzer added. ‘We’re in 44 countries (with them).’

‘We tend to use (the Detroit office) as sort of our mother ship. Particularly if we have issues anywhere, we’ll tend to use resources out of here, whether it’s creative or planning (duties),’ Schweitzer said. ‘We also use this office as a training ground for our worldwide network.’

Howting, who joined JWT in 1979 to work on the Ford account, was named creative director in 1986. Rooke is an 11-year JWT veteran. Creating Howting’s position has been talked about for quite a while, Schweitzer said. ‘But now we feel that we’ve got the critical mass and the need,’ he explained.

‘I’m almost positive that we probably have the most stable creative department in this city in terms of lack of turnover,’ Schweitzer said.

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