Ford Motor Co. is restructuring its Hollywood placement activities, which once were nearly all handled by WPP Group's Showcase International of Burbank, Calif.
"We're looking for another solution" that is broader than Hollywood, says Jan Valentic, vice president for global marketing at Ford.
In the works is a partnership between Showcase and sibling Brand Entertainment Group, which has done many of Ford's recent TV deals. But the venture "isn't quite soup yet," Valentic says.
Ford wants a single unit to look at larger, integrated deals that connect with its vehicle brands' images and strategies, Valentic says.
Ford's last big Hollywood deal was with MGM's James Bond movie Die Another Day. Actress Halle Berry drove a coral Ford Thunderbird in the movie and in TV commercials. Ford sold the car as the limited-edition 007 Thunderbird. The Jaguar XKR also appeared in the film and in TV commercials.
Valentic says the Bond deal got tremendous press and helped Jaguar's sales. "Our brands were pretty happy with what we got out of it," she says.
Showcase has handled Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar and Aston Martin for about 10 years. It also represented Jaguar in the United States. But the WPP unit recently lost a bid to keep Jaguar and Aston Martin.
Showcase executives didn't return calls. Richard Briggs, who is listed on Showcase's Web site as senior managing director in North America, resigned about three months ago, says Arah Devaney, who runs the Burbank office.