Mr. Barlow succeeds Tom Cordner, worldwide creative director on the Ford business, who arrived in early 2003 from Lexus' agency, Team One. JWT said Mr. Cordner has resigned "to pursue other opportunities."
Mr. Barlow will be based in Detroit and will report to Ty Montague, JWT's co-president and chief creative officer in New York.
'Walls came down'
Mr. Barlow told Advertising Age he met Ford executives earlier this year when starting work on the automaker's episodic online corporate documentary, which is shown at fordboldmoves.com. He dubbed that effort the first time the "walls came down" for creative collaboration between JWT's Detroit and New York offices.
He started his career at Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, on General Motors Corp.'s Saturn account before moving to TBWA/Chiat/Day's New York office.
He joined JWT five years ago, starting at its San Francisco office and then shifting to New York more than three years ago. He's worked on Kleenex, Diamond Trading Co. and Welch's.
"Toby's ability to bring real creative energy and new media thinking to every campaign he has ever worked on will be a real plus for our Ford client," said George Rogers, president-CEO of JWT, Detroit.
Shed title last year
Mr. Cordner, who joined JWT as co-president, shed that title late last year after he started splitting his time between Detroit and Los Angeles for personal reasons.
"I can't thank Tom enough for his three exceptional years of service to JWT," Bob Jeffrey, JWT's worldwide chairman-CEO, said in a prepared statement. "He's done some amazing work during his tenure here. We wish him all the best."
Ford Division, the carmaker's best-selling brand, spent $894 million in measured media in 2005, a 10% drop from 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The automaker is struggling mightily in North America (its home market), but is trying to resuscitate the division with cost cuts and major white- and blue-collar job cuts. The company is also scaling back production.