J. Walter Thompson is poised to take control of the global
advertising account for Land Rover, the off-road brand bought by the
Ford Motor Company earlier this year.
Land Rover, which spends pounds 20 million on advertising in the UK
alone, has, until now, been a key global client of WCRS, which handles
the advertising for the brand’s former parent BMW. The account has been
expected to shift to a Ford roster agency since news of Ford’s purchase
broke in May.
Matthew Taylor, sales and marketing director of Land Rover, confirmed
that he had held talks with JWT. He said the discussions had centred on
how the agency handles its Ford-owned Jaguar account.
JWT’s Jaguar department is a bespoke global business unit which pools
all WPP resources and is run out of the agency’s London office. It is
thought that OgilvyOne is another of the WPP agencies in line to work on
Taylor said: ’We have to review as we go forward. There is a conflict of
interest with WCRS, which handles the BMW account.’
Robin Wight, the chairman of WCRS, said: ’BMW, alas a competitor to Land
Rover, means we must stand aside.’
Ford’s global advertising is handled by three key networks: JWT, Ogilvy
& Mather and Young & Rubicam. The latter two networks appear not to have
been contacted about Land Rover An agency insider explained: ’Y&R and
O&M are Ford marque agencies. The other brands are kept separate.’
The move is also consistent with rumoured plans for Ford’s luxury
brands, which include Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover, to be
consolidated into JWT.
However, Taylor claimed there was no pressure to move the account into a
Ford roster shop. He said: ’We can use whichever agency is best for our
business.’ He added that the best agency may or may not be a Ford roster
It has not yet emerged how the talks with JWT will affect Land Rover’s
relations with its newly appointed US agency, GDS&M, which was hired in
The US is a key growth market for Land Rover. Ford has stated that it
intends to increase US sales by between 20,000 and 30,000 units with
this year’s launch of the Freelander model.
WCRS picked up the Land Rover business in 1997. Since then it has
created award-winning campaigns including the recent Freelander spot,
which presented the vehicle as an animal being released into the wilds
of South Africa.