WPP to open Detroit Campus to better serve Ford and the city

This will be the holding company's 10th campus in North America and fifth to launch the last two years.

WPP will open a Detroit Campus by late 2020 for all of its agencies in the city, including GTB, VMLY&R, Burrows, Hudson Rouge, Iconmobile, Xaxis and Zubi. 

The building, which will house 1,000 employees, is located in Detroit’s historic Marquette Building - close to campus of WPP’s Ford client. WPP will keep its operation open in Dearborn, Michigan after the new campus opens. The holding company’s BDG Architecture + Design firm is handling the look of the interior office space.

WPP’s investment in Detroit follows a number of changes in the last 14 months at GTB, the company’s dedicated global marketing partner for Ford. A little over a year ago, GTB suffered a blow when the automaker moved its estimated $800 million global creative account from Omnicom’s BBDO after a competitive review. 

Despite the creative loss, GTB still handles a lionshare of services for Ford, including media planning and buying, digital, production and PR.

Over the summer, GTB hired former Digitas executive Robert Guay to replace Satish Korde as global chief executive. The agency also recently promoted Julian Watt to global CCO, expanding on his previous position as global creative integrator; and Andrew Robinson was named president of the international markets group, overseeing agency operations in Asia-Pacific (excluding China), the Middle East, Australia and Africa. 

On the development side of GTB, the agency has made a number of changes to its offerings recently, including forming a global media practice and creating a new global production capability, dubbed Makerhouse. 

Next up, Guay told Campaign US that GTB is "definitely looking for a global leader in the area of data practices."

Given where Ford is now and its desire to compete as a modern marketer, as well as all of GTB's recent advancements, Guay said the agency plans on playing an essential role in the automaker’s future plans. He added that GTB will make sure Ford is using its marketing and media spend in the right way.

In addition to better serving Ford, the new Detroit Campus is part of WPP’s commitment to help revitalize the city.

"Detroit is one of those creative cities that has been talking about its resurgence for a long time, and as someone who has spent a lot of time there, I can’t imagine any creative company not having a presence in downtown Detroit today," Guay told Campaign US.

Once it opens, it will be WPP’s 10th campus in North America and the fifth to launch the last two years. Within three years, about 85,000 people will be accommodated by 40 WPP campus locations around the world. This year alone, WPP has opened or announced the opening of campuses in Düsseldorf, Paris, Amsterdam, Manchester (UK), Mumbai, Gurugram, San Francisco and Madrid.

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