Ford Boosts Ad Spending Behind Jwt’s ‘built To Last’ Campaign

Ford Motor Co.’s Ford division is doubling ad spending this month compared to February 1997 in support of its new divisional campaign, said Gerry Donnelly, division marketing communications manager.
Ford–which spent $38 million on Ford cars and trucks in February 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting–has purchased 175 30-second spots on CBS during its Winter Olympics coverage, which began Feb. 6. The campaign also includes full-page ads that will run in USA Today each day of the games, Donnelly said.
As expected, the division dropped its 15-year-old tagline, “Have you driven a Ford lately?” (Adweek, Jan. 12). The new tagline for cars is, “Built to last.” “Built Ford tough” continues as the truck tagline.
The division considered using the popular truck tag for the entire division, but in testing found that some women had negative connotations when connecting it to cars, said Bruce Rooke, executive vice president and creative director at Ford agency J. Walter Thompson in Detroit.
The division’s 1998 ad spending will increase 14 percent compared to 1997, Donnelly said. The automaker spent $378 million on Ford division advertising in the first 10 months of 1997, according to CMR data.
The new spots are crafted around stories about Ford customers. The “storyteller” for the campaign is John Corbett, who played the narrator, Chris, on the TV show Northern Exposure.
Corbett had strong consumer appeal when the spots were tested in several markets, Donnelly said. The division deliberately chose not to enlist a megastar who would have “stolen the thunder” from the vehicles, he added.
One of the spots includes historical footage of the Ford Modeland discusses founder Henry Ford’s vision for the automaker. Another involves a story about a female obstetrician rushing to the hospital in her Ford Taurus.