WPP's Ford agency reduces workforce in wake of account demotion

Staff cuts come two months after it lost its lead creative agency status

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The 2019 Ford Motor Co. Mustang Bullitt sports vehicle, left, and 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 vehicle, center, are displayed during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.
The 2019 Ford Motor Co. Mustang Bullitt sports vehicle, left, and 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 vehicle, center, are displayed during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

GTB, WPP's dedicated Ford agency, is reducing its global workforce in the wake of being demoted on the account. A spokesman confirmed the shop will lay off less than 2 percent of its total global workforce, which numbers about 3,000 people.

The staff reduction comes two months after Ford named BBDO as its lead global creative agency. The automaker also brought on Wieden & Kennedy as a creative and innovation partner for specific projects. W&K led the new "Built Ford Proud" U.S. campaign that is getting significant airplay. While the moves were a blow to WPP, which has a long-running relationship with Ford, GTB retained significant pieces of the business, including media planning and buying, dealer marketing, PR and ad operations in China.

"As the support model is evolving, some reductions to staffing will occur," Detroit-based GTB said in a statement today to Ad Age. "The size and the timing of the staffing reductions will vary from market to market. GTB is leveraging WPP's global agency network and regional agency partners to limit the impact and support those affected. As a trusted global communications partner, GTB is committed to delivering extraordinary consumer impact for brands through creative content, data, and technology."

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