Power Players 2009

Ford's Jim Farley Is Ad Age's No. 10 Power Player

After Declining Washington's Dollars, the Best of the Big Three Steals Share From Crosstown Rivals

Published on .

JIM FARLEY
GROUP VP-GLOBAL MARKETING,
FORD MOTOR CO.
10
Last Year
7
THE POWER: Ford Motor Co., which did not take federal bailout loans, has been stealing share from its two cross-town rivals that did. Credit ex-Toyota exec Jim Farley, who has made Ford the rare carmaker investing in brand-building ads as of late. One example: He's upped Ford's green image with a push early this year for the 2010 Fusion Hybrid. Mr. Farley, who reports to President-CEO Alan Mullaly and who is also operations chief for Canada, Mexico and South America, is driving Ford into major social media and experiential plays. With the redone Taurus launch and the lauded Fiesta rollout, Mr. Farley has truly pushed media integration, with digital now nearly a quarter of Ford's ad spend. The efforts have helped boost consideration and positive buzz for Ford and its spiffier new models with improved vehicle quality.

THE NUMBERS: Ford's F-Series truck line, America's perennial best-selling vehicle, posted its second straight sales increase in September, up 4%, and has gained more than 3 points of market share in the full-size truck segment. The Ford brand was the nation's second-best-selling brand behind Toyota in the first three quarters of 2009—and it was only outsold by Toyota by some 41,000 units. Through September, U.S. market share for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury grew by a full percentage point to 15.2%. Ford spent over $1 billion in measured media in 2008. First half spending was down 7.3%, but Mr. Farley is beefing up ad spending for the next couple quarters.

THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Ken Czubay, VP-sales and marketing; Elena Ford, director-global marketing, sales and service operations and great-great granddaughter of company founder Henry Ford; Matt VanDyke, marketing director; Dave Sanabria, ad manager; and Connie Fontaine, manager-brand content and alliances.

THE CHALLENGES: Although Ford has reported an $834 million profit for the first half of the year, partly due to restructuring, it still needs to prove it can generate cash and manage its $35 billion in debt. The company has said it still doesn't expect to break even or post an annual profit until 2011.

THE AGENCIES: Team Detroit, Dearborn, a co-mingled group of five WPP agencies, handles U.S. national and regional creative, strategy, digital and media.

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