Associate Director - Ford

Automotive London, United Kingdom


Position at Hill+Knowlton Strategies


12 months’ freelance maternity cover (July 2019 start)


H+K is a communications agency, always in beta and always changing. We are the first and only large agency to structure itself around sectors to deliver deep industry knowledge, supported by specialist areas of ideas and strategy, content creation and publishing. Everyone in our agency is expected to constantly evolve, reinvent their skills and set a new standard in the industry for their role.

We have an exciting opportunity for an experienced consumer communications expert to join one of the world’s leading brands.

This 100% dedicated client-service team operates in the automotive sector; however it has a purely non-automotive remit – focussing 100% on consumer-lifestyle audiences. Its ‘blended’ approach sees the in-house client communications team working side-by-side with agency consultants from a number of WPP agencies, including the above-the-line agency for truly integrated ideas. The entire through-the-line client service team is based in the brand’s agency hub, based at Sea Containers House – with access to many benefits including a subsidised restaurant, in house masseurs and barbers.  Working at European level to centrally develop strategy, campaigns and story content, the team also oversees local market execution across five market WPP teams. The collective remit is to add value to the client’s in-house team by bringing the ‘outside in’ and driving cut-through with consumer-lifestyle media and influencers across Europe.

We are looking for an established Associate Director level candidate with big brand, consumer-lifestyle agency experience, who can lead brand-building communications as well as play a part in leading team operations (which includes overseeing finance, team learning & development and maintaining a strong connection with H+K). The ideal candidate will have a strong consumer-lifestyle background (experience of automotive is not required) and will be energised and motivated to inspire the team with ground-breaking creativity, and will develop and lead large scale integrated brand campaigns while also being happy to be “hands-on”.

This is a client-centric role and would suit someone who is keen to try new approaches, develop new channels and strategies that reach new audiences.

This role will report into the sector MD and is offered on a 12-month fixed term contract basis covering a maternity leave which starts end July, 2019.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies is creating a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone belongs.  As a company and as co-workers, we are building a workplace where everyone can reach their full potential.  We are an inclusive employer and are happy to consider flexible working arrangements.


The Lane-Keeping Bed:

Cosying up to the one you love should be a welcome relief but, for those who share their bed with a “space invader”, precious hours can be lost simply trying to reclaim a fair share of the mattress. Ford’s Lane-Keeping Bed applied car tech know-how to ensuring that even the most selfish bed mate stays firmly “in their lane” through the night. Released globally to coincide with St. Valentine’s Day, the story achieved over 1,000 pieces of coverage globally (including a feature on NBC’s Today Show as part of a discussion with Spike Lee!) as well as 1.2M earned YouTube views.

The WheelSwap Experiment:

As increasing numbers of us get on our bikes, flashpoints between drivers and cyclists are an all-too frequent sight in Europe’s cities. Part of Ford’s Share The Road campaign, WheelSwap was a ground-breaking VR experience that literally put cyclists and motorists on each-other’s wheels to create empathy in order to help change behaviour, helping make roads safer for all. After testing the experience on 1200 people, 60% said they had actually changed their behaviour after using the experience. The campaign generated over 300 pieces of coverage across Europe and WheelSwap is now being used globally by Ford as well as being used by third parties as a training tool.

The Hangover Suit:

Drink-driving is now one of society’s biggest taboos but hitting the road the morning after can be just as dangerous. Even when drivers are no longer over the limit they still present a risk that can be as high as drivers who are drunk. Ford’s Hangover Suit simulates hangover symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, throbbing head, difficulty concentrating.

Initially launched in Europe, The Hangover Suit generated over 200 pieces of coverage in Europe and was soon adopted by Ford globally.


  • Provide senior level strategic counsel and insight, guidance and creativity to meet client requirements underpinned by relentless professionalism
  • Understand the art of presentation skills and story-telling and bring ideas to life with the ability to adapt presentation styles to various different audiences; someone who knows how to take information about a standard piece of auto tech into a fresh perspective with a consumer benefit that can position this automotive brand as unique
  • Have experience of leading or working within a global or European hub team
  • Foster a creative team culture, championing stand-out work and encouraging bold and innovative approaches, ensuring the team delivers game changing ideas and solutions
  • Genuine experience of major big brands at regional or global level is essential and preferred to pure automotive experience
  • Own the account integration process across geographies, practices and services so that the client thinks as one team
  • Have the gravitas to lead, inspire and challenge the client, uncover and show new communication opportunities, connect with people that can be called upon for speaking opportunities, new tech etc
  • To work and collaborate closely with other client stakeholders, agency partners etc; act lead on full alignment and integration of plans with client’s Marketing team and agencies


  • The opportunity to develop under the guidance of some of the best in the industry
  • The chance to gain first-hand experience working on high-profile international brands
  • Exposure to globally-recognised clients and campaigns centred upon performance and purpose
  • The ability to work alongside a passionate and supportive team
  • Joining one of the world’s most respected, award-winning PR agencies
  • Our dedicated training academy The Hub which provides a breadth of skills enabling our people to take ownership of their career development and become trusted advisors to their clients


  • 28 days annual leave
  • Bespoke health and wellbeing plan
  • Comprehensive health insurance (Bupa)
  • SMART pension scheme
  • Heavily subsidised on-site bar
  • Employee discount scheme
  • Group life assurance
  • Enhanced maternity + paternity pay
  • Vouchers + extra day’s holiday for key milestone anniversaries
  • Our dedicated interactive training academy - ‘The Hub’
To apply please upload your CV and covering email outlining why this role is of interest, your current salary, salary expectations and notice period.