WPP today unveiled a boutique agency to service the Lincoln brand of its client Ford.
As the automaker looks to reposition the brand with new models it hopes will make it more competitive in the US luxury auto market, it decided to take this next step as part of its continued "substantial commitment to Lincoln," said Jim Farley, group VP, global marketing for Ford Motor Co.
Last year, the company hired new design director Max Wolff from Cadillac, and the company is rolling out several new cars this year.
The agency, which opens January 1, is expected to be made up of a 45-person team based in New York City. It will draw on talent from existing WPP agencies, including those that comprise Team Detroit, but also outside the holding company, which has provided marketing services for Ford for decades.
WPP named Cameron McNaughton, most recently president and founder of McNaughton Automotive Perspectives, president of the new agency. He reports to Satish Korde, CEO of Team Detroit, the inter-agency, inter-disciplinary firm within WPP that has served Ford's marketing needs under its own P&L since 2007. It is made up of several agencies, including JWT, Y&R, Wunderman, and Ogilvy.
While Team Detroit has drawn more heavily on WPP talent from the Detroit region, this new yet-to-be-named Lincoln agency is purposely located in New York to provide proximity to the luxury market and "access to a diverse talent pool," said Martin Sorrell via teleconference during a media event in Manhattan today. Jon Pearce, most recently executive creative director at BBH New York, will be the firm's chief creative officer.
At the press conference, where the PR and marketing team far outnumbered reporters, details were scarce. Farley declined to provide specifics about the impending marketing plan for Lincoln, including tactics or strategies."It's still too early," he said. "Our first step is to get people excited about the product - we have a strong vision for the brand."
Nor was the team able to say which WPP agencies were likely to be represented on the new "team Lincoln." Ford's exclusive relationship with WPP has meant it turns to its PR firms including Burson-Marsteller, which was on hand at the press event, Ogilvy PR, and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, among others depending on the need.
"We're building our Lincoln communications team alongside what you heard today," Ray Day, VP of communications for Ford, told PRWeek. "It's all very integrated."
Ford hosted a breakfast event for bloggers earlier today and an evening media event was also planned.