Move Gives Agency 12th of 12 Asian-Pacific Ford Markets

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DETROIT ( -- Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Japan has moved its account to WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Tokyo, effective immediately, according to the agency.

The value of the account is estimated at $20 million.

50 countries worldwide
The account shift marks the last Ford market in Asia to align with J. Walter Thompson, which now partners with the automaker across its 12 Asia-Pacific markets, plus more than 50 countries worldwide.

Japan is the world's second-largest automotive market.

The account's incumbent was Hakuhodo, one of Japan's largest ad agencies. Hakuhodo also handles Ford-controlled Mazda Motor Corp. in its home market and Nissan Motor Co. in Japan and elsewhere through a venture with Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day.

WPP consolidation
The move follows WPP's recent global deal with Ford, in which WPP is granting favored rates in exchange for opportunities to win more of the carmaker's business. For example, WPP will consolidate the Detroit-area offices of all three of its major agency networks with Ford accounts in one facility for added efficiencies. JWT, Young & Rubicam Brands and Ogilvy & Mather are expected to consolidate certain back-room departments after that move in 2006.

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