Ford Preps 3 Spots for New Idol

Ford Motor Co. is preparing three spots for Fox’s hit reality show American Idol, which launches its second season in late January.

J. Walter Thomp son in Detroit is working on the spots, for the Focus model, said Joe Cas telli, Ford Division car group marketing man ager. Last season Ford ran the same spot repeatedly.

The automaker is also considering the possibility of showcasing other youth-oriented models such as the Escape compact sport utility vehicle and the Ranger compact pickup.

Castelli said Ford decided “long before the first season ended” to tell Fox it was interested in participating again if the network produced another season of the show, in which wannabe pop stars compete before a panel of judges. Castelli declined to discuss terms of the agreement, but Ford and Coke, the show’s other principal sponsor, are estimated to have paid between $10 to $40 million for the sponsorship package.

At the auditions for second-season contestants, which got under way in Detroit in October, both marketers had prominent placement. Coke products were served to participants, and a Ford Focus was parked outside the venue.

Clairol’s Herbal Essence, a new sponsor for the second season, had a banner displayed at the auditions. Clairol is sponsoring a sweepstakes in which winners get a trip to Los Angeles to attend one of Idol’s final competitions.