Ian Beavis, the longtime exec VP-management director on Toyota Motor Sales USA's account at Saatchi & Saatchi/Pacific, Torrance, Calif., has been named marketing communications manager for Lincoln-Mercury. He succeeds Dale Jones, who last October was promoted to an international strategic planning post. The position has been vacant since then.
Mr. Beavis will report to Jim Rogers, Lincoln-Mercury's general marketing manager. Mr. Rogers joined Ford last December from research company A.T. Kearney Inc.
The practice of domestic carmakers promoting from within to fill marketing positions has not been as widespread as it once was. Ford has been more willing to go outside, especially during the recent expansion of its branding efforts.
ROPES CAME FROM REEBOK
In February, Ford hired David Ropes, the senior VP at Reebok International in charge of advertising, as director of the new corporate advertising and integrated marketing group.
Mr. Beavis, 44, worked for Ford in Australia for 11 years, winding up in 1982 as advertising manager for Ford Australia. He then joined Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (later acquired by Saatchi & Saatchi and absorbed) to run its Toyota business in Melbourne and later worked on the brand in a number of North American positions.
"What they are most interested in is an outsider's perspective on the advertising," he said last week. "What has been most convenient is that I happened to have auto-motive experience and a bit more of a world view of things."
Mr. Beavis will have his work cut out for him. Lincoln-Mercury, best known for its big luxury cars, is struggling as it tries to attract younger buyers. The division, which spent $274 million in measured media last year, is trying to freshen its image.
Lincoln-Mercury's overall sales rose by 5.4% during the first four months of 1997 to 185,829, compared to the previous-year period. But sales of several key vehicles slipped during the period. Sales of its luxury Town Car slumped 16% to 24,874. Mercury Villager minivan sales declined 4% to 19,129.
Jim O'Connor, the division's general manager, has said new products like the upcoming Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicle should help boost the nameplate's image. The automaker reported in early May it already had 9,000 Navigator orders.
Other domestic makers of luxury cars are having similar woes.
General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac and Oldsmobile divisions are trying to reposition themselves and appeal to baby boomers.
GM also has hired from the outside; Cadillac brought in Steven Rosenblum as advertising director last summer, from Grey Advertising, Los Angeles, and Oldsmobile hired Mike Sands as advertising director from Ameritech Corp.
Mr. Beavis said Ford intends to turn Lincoln-Mercury "into a real powerhouse," first focusing on Lincoln and, secondly, drawing new consumers into the brand.
Although some industry observers view the Lincoln-Mercury advertising, from Y&R Advertising, Detroit, as "stale," Mr. Beavis said he looks forward to working with the agency.
Mr. Beavis said one of the things he brings to Lincoln-Mercury is familiarity with Toyota's so-called PDCA management system, which stands for "plan, do, check, action." Under it, managers plan an action, take the action, check its results and act on improving the results.
"You become relentlessly hard on yourself to improve," he said.