DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.'s merger of regional advertising accounts for the Ford and Lincoln Mercury brands is attracting wait-and-see wariness from some Lincoln Mercury dealers.
This month, Ford combined the accounts at the regional dealer association level — called Tier 2 — in a new division, Retail First. Dealers and the factory jointly pay for Tier 2 advertising.
Some Lincoln Mercury dealers say they reserve the right to consider their own ad agencies if they don't like the new structure.
Initially, some Lincoln Mercury dealers worried they wouldn't get enough attention under the merged setup. Agency executives aim to alleviate that concern when they explain the new structure at regional ad association meetings this month, said Bob McClowry, Retail First managing director.
Retail First is part of the Team Detroit office of ad agencies owned by holding company WPP Group.
Bob Tasca Jr., chairman of the Lincoln Mercury regional ad association in New England, says it's understandable some dealers are skeptical. He urges patience. "If we decide we're not happy and their services aren't what we expect, you can always change" agencies, said Tasca, a Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer in Rhode Island. "But I think you need to give the new system a chance."
Jack Straub, a dealer in Keyport, N.J., and member of the New York area Lincoln Mercury dealer ad association, said dealers need a thorough explanation of how the structure will work.
"It's not going to be something where we say, 'Let's give it a couple of years,' " Straub said. "Nobody has that kind of time."