FORD ARM IN UTAH SHIFTS RETAIL ADS: AUTO COLLECTION TO COURT SHOPPERS WITH THE HELP OF ARIZONA AGENCY

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One of Ford Motor Co.'s Auto Collections has shifted $2.5 million in retail advertising from J. Walter Thompson Co.'s Automotive Retail Marketing subsidiary to a Mesa, Ariz., agency that specializes in bringing shoppers through dealership doors.

"They wanted harder-hitting, retail-type advertising that JWT didn't provide," said Larry John, CEO and partner in Larry John Wright Inc., which won the retail work of the Utah Auto Collection in Salt Lake City.

Auto Collections merge Ford, Lincoln Mercury and Mazda dealerships in a metro area, offering no-commission sales staffs, uniform pricing and a common identity.

MOVE RESPONDS TO COMPETITION

Ford has pushed the concept in response to large public chains.

Other Auto Collections are in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Rochester, N.Y.; San Diego; and Quebec City.

The Utah Auto Collection was launched in March, combining 13 franchises at nine sites, according to CEO Duff Willey. It's owned by the 12 original dealers and Ford, which has a minority stake.

Mr. Willey said the Auto Collection will work with JWT's Automotive Retail Marketing on branding "while working with local suppliers to promote our retail sales."

"This arrangement benefits both parties, allowing ARM to focus on the development of the Auto Collection brand nationally while providing the Utah Auto Collection with the ability to respond to local market conditions," said Steve Brown, general manager of the JWT unit.

Mr. John said retail efforts will concentrate on TV, emphasizing the pricing and large inventory of the group, as well as building awareness of the new entity. Spots with the tagline "The selection Collection connection" will be

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