Y&R LAYS PLANS TO FOLLOW LINCOLN MERCURY TO COAST: ONLY 50 DETROIT STAFFERS WILL GO TO CALIF. OFFICE; MOTOWN UNIT TO STAY OPEN

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Not many Detroit staffers of Young & Rubicam are California dreaming, it seems.

Only 50 of the approximately 400 Motown staffers of Y&R Advertising and sister unit Wunderman Cato Johnson are expected to relocate to California as the shops follow their biggest client, Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln Mercury, west.

In March, the agencies said about 100 staffers had been invited to move.

John Vanderzee, chairman of Y&R's Detroit office, said the two agencies probably will hire a total of about 100 people in California.

RELOCATION STARTS IN JULY

Staff will start relocating to California in July, with the moves expected to be done by mid-September. Y&R's transferees and new hires will outnumber Wunderman's.

Wunderman, with 70 people in Detroit, will move 15 staffers to California, said Laurie Null, exec VP-managing director. The shop expects to hire 25 people.

The two shops will occupy temporary office space in Irvine to handle account service and media on the $275 million account until a new facility is built in about a year.

"A small number of creative people" will relocate from Detroit to Y&R's existing San Francisco office, Mr. Vanderzee said.

Mike Belitsos, exec VP-executive creative director, will head the creative team in San Francisco on the national and dealer accounts.

The San Francisco office recently hired Steve Creet as exec VP-executive creative director for non-Ford accounts, from BBDO Worldwide, Toronto.

HIRSHBOECK HEADS CALIF. UNIT

John Hirshboeck, president of Y&R, Detroit, will become general manager of the new Irvine office. Wunderman's existing Irvine office, solely servicing its Taco Bell business, will be separate from the operation servicing Lincoln Mercury.

NO MORE LONG COMMUTE

Ed Collins, brand team leader on the national Mercury account, has been commuting to the Midwest from his Los Angeles home since early this year. He had been preparing to relocate to Michigan when Lincoln Mercury announced its move to Irvine.

The Detroit office will continue operating, with more than 100 people, including Mr. Vanderzee.

"We are still determining the final number [of staff for] here [in Detroit]," he said.

The Detroit office, which now oversees all regional Lincoln Mercury dealer groups, with 1997 measured media spending of $83 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting, apparently will lose clout. Now it will only be handling dealer accounts east of the Mississippi River.

But Y&R's New York office will assume account and media services for dealer groups in the Northeast; the Irvine office gets dealers west of the Mississippi.

FIELD OFFICES KEEP ROLE

Y&R's existing 14 dealer field offices will continue day-to-day contacts with dealers.

Detroit also will service Ford's Visteon Automotive Systems parts unit and non-Ford clients, such as Michigan National Bank. The office will have annual billings of between $75 million and $100 million, Mr. Vanderzee said.

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