FORD CANCELS SOLE-SOURCE WPP ADVERTISING DEAL

New Internal Task Force to Study Controversial Issue

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Ford Motor Co. has rescinded its agreement with WPP Group to make the agency holding company a single supplier of advertising services, according to the company.

The move follows reports published in

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Consolidation of Ad Accounts With WPP at Issue
the last 48 hours that Ford's president and chief operating officer, Nicholas Scheele, is under investigation by his own company for recent decisions related to the consolidation of the auto giant's advertising business with the London-headquartered WPP Group.

Cross-functional team
In a letter to company officers released late yesterday, Mr. Scheele said he is forming a new cross-functional team with senior representatives from marketing, finance and purchasing to study the possibility of WPP as a single-source supplier.

A Ford spokesman said pending the task force's decision, a new version of the WPP deal could surface. The review should be completed in about five weeks.

WPP agencies already handle the bulk of advertising for Ford's stable of brands around the world, with U.S. billings on those accounts at more than $1 billion annually.

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