INTERNATIONAL NEWS: After 40 years, Ford signs top Argentine firm with crisis specialty

BUENOS AIRES: Ford surprised the Argentine PR industry last week by hiring a PR agency for the first time in its 40 years in the country.

BUENOS AIRES: Ford surprised the Argentine PR industry last week by hiring a PR agency for the first time in its 40 years in the country.

BUENOS AIRES: Ford surprised the Argentine PR industry last week by

hiring a PR agency for the first time in its 40 years in the

country.



The biggest surprise was that the automotive giant didn’t call Hill &

Knowlton/Argentina, which works in tandem with Ford ad agency J. Walter

Thompson. Instead, the company tapped top local PR firm Nueva

Comunicacion.



Since Nueva is regarded as Argentina’s premier PR shop for crisis

management, business journalists are speculating about potential threats

to Ford’s reputation.



One possible landmine could be the tense car-import negotiations between

Argentina and Brazil. Ford has already extracted tax exemptions from

Brazil for a new auto plant and could be lobbying Argentina for similar

treatment. If the company can’t reach an agreement with Argentine

authorities, Ford might opt for shifting production to Brazil, meaning

layoffs and subsequent bad publicity.



Nueva declined to discuss the specifics of its relationship with Ford,

but said that the firm is ’just doing media relations as usual’ for the

company’s PR department, headed by veteran VP Rodolfo Ceretti.



Problems may begin sooner rather than later if Nueva signs an already

negotiated agreement to sell out to The Weber Group. Interpublic,

through its ad agency McCann Erickson, works for General Motors, which

would present Ford and Nueva with a glaring conflict of interest.



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