WPP shifts Global Team Blue staff to new VMLY&R outpost in Detroit

The VMLY&R outpost will work with GTB to service Ford

VMLY&R has opened its first office in Detroit, Michigan, bringing on board a raft of Global Team Blue (GTB) executives to staff the Ford account outpost.

The internal WPP talent merge has been “planned and co-ordinated” by the holding company and the two agencies to support their partnership on the Ford account, according to an internal spokesperson.

It comes after the auto brand notably pulled a portion of its business away from WPP’s GTB, which was initially founded as Ford’s bespoke shop in 2006, last October. Omnicom’s BBDO was named lead agency and Wieden+Kennedy picked up the mantle of innovation partner.

GTB retained media planning, buying, shopper and performance marketing, as well as website development, customer relationship marketing, multicultural and tier-two dealer advertising.

Now, Tim Reisen, previously chief experience officer at GTB in its Dearborn headquarters, has been named as chief executive of VMLY&R Detroit.

He is joined by Aleksandr Niestroj, previously GTB's managing partner and executive director for global experience strategy, as well as “many members of his team”.

It hints at where the future of GTB as a standalone agency lies following the outcome of the account review.

VMLY&R stated its Detroit set-up would allow the recently-merged agency to “continue the partnership” with GTB, rather than cannibalize the sister shop.

The spokesperson added the opening will allow VMLY&R a “strong presence” in the Motor City market and provide consumer experience services to other North American clients out of Michigan.

WPP merged VML with Y&R last September – the first manifestation of chief exeucitve Mark Read's plans to create "stronger creative agencies with stronger reputations". J Walter Thompson and Wunderman were similarly brought together two months later.

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