Ford sends Volvo media buying to JWT unit

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Ford Motor Co. moved the national media buying portion of its $95 million Volvo Cars of North America account to J. Walter Thompson Co. subsidiary Ford Motor Media, Detroit.

Media had been handled by Volvo agency Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York. Messner will continue to make local and "tactical" buys, about 40% of the business, said agency partner Jay Durante. Tactical buys largely involve regional vehicle-lease rates, he said.


Ford Motor Media already handles Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda and Jaguar as well as Ford corporate, Ford Customer Service and the Visteon parts-making division. The addition of Volvo was expected since Ford announced its deal to buy Sweden's AB Volvo earlier this year.

Ford Motor Media will push for long-term, integrated deals with media, said Robert Mancini, senior partner and executive director of the JWT unit. Ford wants partnerships with media that can find ways to fit brand strategies, he noted.

"The old ways of selling are by the boards," Mr. Mancini said. "We don't expect [media reps] to come in here just selling pages, we expect [them] to sell relevant marketing ideas. We expect [them] to put something together that is innovative and creative."

Clive Chajet, president of Chajet Consultancy, New York, expressed skepticism about brand-building alliances with media, saying an advertiser is better served when agencies handle brand strategy.

"The notion that an objective, useful brand strategy can be recommended to any client by an organization that is also selling a product is fundamentally flawed," he said. "Time Warner is going to recommend a strategy that utilizes Time Warner media."


Harvey Rabinowitz, president of buying service Media . . . Period, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., said many buyers want more sophistication in sales pitches.

"On the really bigger pieces of business, they would like to see the media-selling company know a little about the client they're pitching, rather than coming in and saying, 'One size fits all,' " Mr. Rabinowitz said. "I would say most buyers feel that way."

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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