J. Walter Thompson Europe has won a project from Mazda which could lead
to the WPP-owned network landing the Japanese car giant’s entire pounds
66 million pan-European advertising account.
Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, has been hoping to win a
slice of Mazda business since his key client, Ford, increased its stake
in the company in June. A spokesman at Mazda’s European headquarters
confirmed: ‘We are looking at the possibility of harmonising marketing
communication across Europe.’
Mazda has asked JWT to make the case for such a harmonisation in what is
the first indication that it wants to use Ford’s global agencies - JWT
and Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide, which are both owned by WPP - for
international advertising. O&M is barred from the European project as it
handles the UK Ford account, but in the US, JWT is the Ford incumbent.
However, it is not clear how JWT’s relationship with Mazda across Europe
will affect locally appointed agencies. Japanese car companies market
themselves through independently minded distributors and accounts
usually move through local pitches, not by mandate from headquarters.
For example, Mazda Cars UK is an independent franchise 60 per cent owned
by the Japanese trading company, Itochu, and 40 per cent owned by
Inchcape. Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury has been its agency for three
Chris Satterthwaite, a partner at HHCL, said he was fully aware of the
situation: ‘Mazda in the UK has made sure we have been informed. One
thing that needs to be considered is the outstanding success of Mazda in
Germany is a likely first target for JWT since it is one of the few
countries where Mazda wholly owns the franchise.