FORD SHUFFLE IN EUROPE SENDS $230 MIL TO Y&R: O&M SISTER SHOP MINDSHARE RETAINS MEDIA BUYING

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In one of the biggest-ever shifts of ad business in Europe, Ford Motor Co. is realigning assignments across the Continent on a model-by-model basis, moving an estimated $230 million to Young & Rubicam Europe, London, from Ogilvy & Mather Europe.

This follows Y&R's win of the $100 million-plus launch of the Ford Focus in Europe, announced at the beginning of July. Y&R competed with fellow roster agency O&M, also London, for that work.

Y&R next year will take on as additional pan-European business: the Fiesta brand, worth an estimated $70 million in ad spending; Ka, $50 million; Explorer, $20 million; Windstar, with a minimal budget; and Ford corporate advertising, currently low-spending but expected soon to add a $90 million campaign. The agency previously handled those brands in Germany only.

The agency also will have control of the style and look of Ford advertising across all other models.

Y&R retains responsibility in Europe for Galaxy and Cougar, the sports coupe that debuts later this year. It also will handle the Lincoln when it is launched in mid-1999.

O&M retains across Europe the Mondeo account and the Escort business (until that marque is phased out, over the next 18 months), plus Ford's commercial vehicles and its dealer ad associations, thought to be worth a substantial sum. Y&R loses all that business in Germany.

There was good news for O&M sister agency MindShare. The WPP Group-owned shop will continue to handle media buying on all brands throughout the region.

PUMA ADS SET TONE

Ford said the decision was driven by the success of recent Europewide advertising for cars such as the Ford Puma, run via Y&R. The Puma sold out soon after its debut last fall.

Another factor was Ford's brand management system, recently installed in Europe, with the goal of creating a "brand-driven" business structure.

No agency pitches preceded the realignments. Instead, Ford of Europe management conducted an internal review.

"We need to be a more coordinated European operation to succeed in business," said Don Hume, global news manager.

Y&R RELATIONSHIP `PRODUCTIVE'

Y&R was handed the extra business because of its relationships with Ford both in Europe and the U.S., and "because we were using that resource [Y&R] in a more productive way [than O&M]," Mr. Hume said.

"Ford is about as significant a thing, along with Citibank, that has happened to this organization in about 10 years," said Y&R CEO Peter Georgescu. "It always matters most when the clients who know you best put a vote of confidence in you."

"This is a major step forward for Ford," said Philippe Mellier, Ford of Europe VP-marketing, sales and service, in a statement. "We are simplifying and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of our advertising agencies, which will provide our customers Europewide with a consistent message about our products."

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