In an announcement to employees today, Lincoln Mercury President Darryl Hazel said the relocation to Dearborn would occur next July.
Talk of the move had been circulating for weeks. Jobs for all of the 90 employees in Irvine, mostly in marketing, will be moved, a spokeswoman told AdAge.com.
Moved out of group
She said Lincoln Mercury's move had been under discussion since the two brands were moved out of Ford's Premier Automotive Group and into the North American Consumer Business Group with the Ford Division, which is also based in Dearborn.
Ford will keep its Lincoln Design studio open in Southern California, the spokeswoman said.
She said Lincoln Mercury's advertising agency, WPP Group's Y&R Cos., Irvine, convened a staff meeting earlier today to explain the implications of its largest client's relocation.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Y&R President-CEO David J. Murphy said the agency had
In a subsequent phone interview, Mr. Murphy told AdAge.com he expects to keep at least 200 staffers in the Irvine office, with an undetermined number continuing to work on Lincoln Mercury. Some Y&R teams will follow the Ford Motor Co. brands back to Michigan next summer, he said.
The two brands spent a total of $94 million in measured media through July 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. The office will keep handling Ford's Irvine-based Jaguar and Land Rover accounts, which spent $76 million in the period, according to CMR.
A Y&R spokesman said that in addition to Jaguar and Land Rover, current clients include Mattel, which has four pieces of girls' toys and all its boys' toys business, including Matchbox and Hot Wheels, as well as entertainment properties such as Harry Potter and games, with the agency.
Additionally, the office handles two of the five pieces of Sony Corp.'s Sony Electronics business, specifically those targeting small businesses and Gen X. Its events and promotions units handles work for Yum Brands' Taco Bell, the spokesman said.
Alice Z. Cuneo contributed to this report.