Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar Cars Ltd. is expected to assign Y&R its estimated $125 million consolidated global account, according to insiders at WPP agencies. It's been managed by a three-year-old WPP joint venture of Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson Co. called Global Communications Group, or GCG. Working under that joint venture, Ogilvy has had global brand duties for Jaguar and has handled Jaguar's $50 million U.S. assignment since 1992.
JWT has worked with Jaguar in Europe since 1993 and in many other markets outside the U.S., including Asia. Jaguar has spent an estimated $55 million annually in media outside the U.S., its biggest market. Global spending will increase this year with the launch of the X-Type sports sedan. The account shift is expected to include retail dealership advertising in the U.S, currently handled by Ogilvy.
Y&R joined WPP's family last October after the acquisition of parent Young & Rubicam. Y&R originally was believed to have won Jaguar's $75 million global launch of the all-new X-Type this summer in a shootout with Ogilvy (AdAge.com, Jan. 11).
A Y&R exec said the account's move is "not official yet." An exec close to the Jaguar matter said GCG will keep managing the account using all agencies' resources.
But other insiders within WPP agencies said Y&R will be assigned the entire account. According to one exec with ties to the British auto maker, GCG may be placed within Y&R.
An Ogilvy exec suggested the account is moving to Y&R because that agency's former account director on the Ford brand work in Europe, Kevin King, moved a few months ago to head Jaguar's global account at GCG in London. Mr. King declined to comment. A spokeswoman at Ogilvy referred calls to the client.
Another move was David Murphy, the senior partner at Ogilvy heading WPP's GCG on Jaguar's global account, who is now president of Y&R, Irvine, Calif. He declined comment.
"All of the Jaguar traditional advertising is gone," said the Ogilvy exec. "We are all still very depressed here about it, especially because it had nothing to do with the creative work. It was politics more than anything."
The Ogilvy exec acknowledged Jaguar had rejected Ogilvy's proposed X-Type campaign. According to materials obtained by Ad Age, Ogilvy's X-Type proposal likened its potential customers to "young Jaguars" with photos of attractive couples in fashionable repose or necking and caressing above copy such as "Young Jaguars always toy with their prey before moving in for the kill" and "There are ways to tame a young Jaguar. However, no one has discovered them yet."
Now up for grabs is Jaguar's estimated $10 million global interactive account. OgilvyInteractive won the U.S. portion of that account in 1997. Ogilvy, Y&R's Impiric, which handles direct and marketing services, and WPP's London-based interactive operation Global Beach, which handles interactive in Europe, currently are vying for the consolidated interactive business, according to an Ogilvy executive.
Simon Sproule, VP-public affairs at Jaguar North America, denied any account shifts but admitted "we have been talking to Y&R about our business." He said Y&R will work with Jaguar on an unidentified project starting production in the next four to eight weeks, but it's not the X-Type.
Bryan Cooper, exec VP on JWT's global Ford business, said, "At this point in time, nobody from Jaguar told me the situation is any different."
Jaguar is counting on the X-Type to appeal to a younger, more diverse audience and to more than double its global car sales to some 170,000. The car expands Jaguar's lineup to four cars vs. the two it had three years ago.
Y&R's Jaguar gain, combined with last fall's win of Ford's $75 million Land Rover lead global account, will exceed the $200 million in billings lost in November when Ford of Europe consolidated all Ford-branded vehicle advertising at Ogilvy. Y&R, London, had won most of the car-specific work in shootouts with Ogilvy, London, since 1997. Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, won Land Rover of North America's $35 million account shortly before Ford bought Land Rover last May.
When asked if Jaguar was concerned about Y&R also handling Land Rover, Mr. Sproule said, "All our WPP agencies are smart enough to understand the needs of each client and make sure we have the resources to support us."
Y&R's Irvine, Calif., office handles the $298 million Lincoln and Mercury accounts. In June, Ford will move the North American bases of Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo to Irvine, where Lincoln and Mercury are based. All those brands except Mercury will be consolidated under the two-year-old Premier Automotive Group.
Each brand in that group can pick its own agency, said Vic Doolan, exec director of North American marketing of the unit. Ford corporate execs aren't calling the shots either, he added.
Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.