WANTED: A FEW GOOD AGENCIES

Conflicts appear to be limiting the agency options available to the New England Ford Dealers Association. At least that’s one explanation why the group last week ran a classified in these pages soliciting proposals for its $25 million ad account.
Only agencies billing in excess of $100 million and with no conflicts need apply. That would disqualify most of Boston’s top shops and put the account on a fast track to J. Walter Thompson in Detroit, said a source. JWT– which handles 48 of the 63 car maker’s dealer groups in the U.S. and is the national agency for the Ford division–is viewed as a shoo-in to replace W.B. Doner, said the source, who noted the ad was placed to literally “invite competition.”
Doner resigned its $80-100 million in Ford dealer business earlier this month after winning Mazda North American Operations’ ad assignment.
Paul Bertoli, who runs The Victory Group in Stoughton, Mass., and is spearheading the search, said he wanted to make sure that “every qualified agency” was made aware of the review.
–Judy Warner