DETROIT -- WPP's Team Detroit, the suburban Detroit group of shops that handles Ford Motor Co.'s creative, media and online accounts, has tapped Brad Audet to lead new-business efforts for more non-car work.
Audet, 42, was promoted to executive vice president-managing director, said CEO George Rogers. Audet had been one of three group account directors at JWT Team Detroit, overseeing crossover vehicles and SUVs on the Ford brand. But Rogers said he eliminated one of the slots last summer to line up with the client's car-and-truck structure.
JWT had a new-business chieftain back in 1997, when Tom Szczepanski had the job. Rogers said JWT, Detroit, had a lot of non-car business back in the 1990s.
Indeed, during a 12-month period that started in 1995, JWT, Detroit, doubled its non-Ford billings to $150 million. JWT's other clients in the mid-'90s included Kohl's, Goodyear, Domino's, White Castle and Sherwin-Williams Co. In 1996, the agency even began an aggressive new-business push touting its consumer-research knowledge.
But the exercise never really panned out the way JWT had hoped. White Castle is the only remaining marketer on the Team Detroit roster from that period.
Since the start of 2000, non-car new-business efforts "have been winnowing down," said Rogers, who added there was no new-business infrastructure in place when he arrived in 2005.
Team Detroit has brought in new clients in the past year, including Compuware, Etch A Sketch marketer Ohio Art and Warrior Sports. Rogers said Audet led those key moves in the past six months as a sort of test drive before he formalized the position. "The time to do this was after we proved we could pull this thing off."
The shop is a finalist for Purolator Filters North America's account. The oil-filter maker did not return a call for comment by press time.