Ford CEO Returns to Ads

NEW YORK Ford Motor Co. chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. will once again take a star turn in the carmaker’s television commercials breaking this week, the company said.

The executive will be part of the “Ford innovation” corporate campaign aimed at buffing the company’s image as a technology leader.

Ford is making his first TV ad appearance since the 2002 “No boundaries” campaign, in which the then-new CEO appeared in 60-second spots touting trucks, the Ford family heritage, and vehicles such as Focus and the redesigned Thunderbird.

That effort was meant to reassure a wary public about Ford’s ability to carry on in rough terrain. Back then, it was a tumultuous year ending with the ouster of Jacques Nasser as CEO. Now, it’s the end of a disappointing quarter in which Ford reported a net loss of $284 million, and is laboring to sell SUVs as gasoline hovers near $3 per gallon.

In the new ads, Ford again speaks extemporaneously about the company’s innovative spirit and its past, present and future accomplishments, per a statement.

“Our recent research has confirmed what we saw the last time he appeared in advertising for Fordx2014;he is a strong spokesperson with whom audiences connect,” said Mark Fields, recently appointed executive vp of the Americas.

The effort, via Penn Schoen & Berland and Ogilvy & Mather in Detroit, features a 60-second spot titled “Innovation” and a 30-second ad titled “Compass.”

As in the 2003 ads, the new commercials combine film footage, historical material and interview-format shots of Bill Ford. Vehicles seen in the spots include the Model T on the assembly line, the Ford Escape hybrid and the GT supercar.

The campaign will run on cable TV and on network programs like Good Morning America, Lost Desperate Housewives and CSI, as well as during World Series and National Football League telecasts.

There will also be national print, newspaper, radio and Internet elements. Campaign spending is undisclosed.

Ford spent nearly $1.6 billion on ads last year, about $920 million on its namesake cars and trucks, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.