Jan Klug wants the factory and Ford Division dealers to send a unified message.
Klug, the division's marketing communications manager, says her proudest accomplishment so far is her work to leverage Ford's $1 billion-plus Ford Dealer Advertising Fund to make factory and dealer messages more consistent.
'The first time I met with (the dealers), I told them that we collectively spend more than McDonald's, and look how ubiquitous McDonald's is,' says Klug. She was referring to the $2.6 billion Ford collectively spends on advertising in the United States - a $582 million factory budget and $1 billion each that regional dealer groups and individual dealers spend. McDonald's, by contrast, spent $1.1 billion domestically in measured media in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Because Ford lets its regional dealer groups choose their own agency and creative strategy, many dealer groups were using locally produced creative. The quality of the locally produced ads was sometimes inconsistent, and that has frustrated Ford.
Klug persuaded many dealer groups to use factory-provided creative materials while tailoring the messages to their markets. The goal: a relatively seamless look between local and national messages.
Agency sources say Klug does all of the advertising presentations during dealer meetings, unlike the past when the agency presented the new ads. To persuade detractors, Klug once hired Chicago's Second City Comedy Troupe to put on skits based on the factory and dealer advertising tensions.
One plus for Klug has been that 54 of the 64 regional dealer groups are using national agency J. Walter Thompson, compared with 50 of the previous 68 before four groups were consolidated. A J. Walter Thompson spokesman said the agency won five regional dealer group accounts and lost one since early 1998.