WPP's Team Detroit, Blue Hive Unify Globally as GTB

Global Team Blue Name Pays Homage to Main Ford Client

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WPP has brought together Team Detroit, Blue Hive and Retail First under the name GTB as a means to emphasize the agency's unified global services model.

Kim Brink, GTB COO
Kim Brink, GTB COO Credit: WPP

GTB, which stands for Global Team Blue, will operate across six continents and 49 offices. Blue Hive, WPP's agency that handles the Ford Motor Co. business in global markets, as well as the nearly 10-year-old Team Detroit and its dealer division, Retail First, are all adopting the new name, brand identity, website and logo. Hudson Rouge, the agency dedicated to Ford's Lincoln brand, will retain its name.

Kim Brink, who shifts from chief operating officer of Team Detroit and Blue Hive to the same role for GTB, said the decision to rebrand made sense as a way to "clarify things for employees and potential clients." She said that while Ford is GTB's main client, it's not the only one. GTB works with at least six clients, including Purina and Johnson Controls, in the U.S.

Toby Barlow, whose title has evolved with the rebrand from chief creative officer at Team Detroit to chief content officer at GTB, said the new identity provides more consistency for staffers by clearly putting in place a shared mission. While the exact number of GTB employees was not immediately available, Ms. Brink said "it's in the thousands."

Mr. Barlow will continue reporting to Ms. Brink, who will keep reporting to GTB CEO Satish Korde, formerly Team Detroit chief executive. Team Detroit, Blue Hive and Retail First previously operated under one P&L and will continue to do so as GTB.

Ms. Brink said the agency "vetted" the whole new identity through the automaker's management team, adding that Ford leaders are happy with the single name and find it less confusing. The "blue" reference in the name also pays homage to Ford and the concept of blue-sky thinking, or creative ideation and open-mindedness.

Mr. Barlow said the GTB logo's blue color and design were created with a sense of "humanity" and "approachability" in mind. "As you get more and more global, it's easier to get more and more corporate, and we recognize that we're in the business of connecting with people," he added.

The Team Detroit venture was created in 2007, bringing together execs from J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, Mindshare, Y&R and Wunderman. WPP extended the Team Detroit model to Europe in 2010 with the launch of Blue Hive, which later expanded to Brazil, South America, China, India, Australia and the Middle East. The holding company now has 48 global client teams.

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