Ford Still Hunting for Across-the-Board Car Tag

Ford Motor Co.’s Ford Division, which has struggled to come up with an umbrella tag for its car models to compare with the long-running “Built Ford tough” on the truck side, is considering the line from a new Taurus campaign, an executive said.

The tag, “Look again,” from J. Walter Thompson, was introduced in a Taurus TV spot that broke Nov. 16.

“We’re going to take a look at how it does and go from there,” said Joe Castelli, Ford Division Car Group marketing manager.

Ford has not utilized an across-the-board tagline for cars in several years. The short-lived “Built to last” was introduced in early 1998. The automaker used “Have you driven a Ford lately?” the previous 15 years.

An umbrella tagline is seen as having more impact on consumers, but creating one has proven difficult be cause of the array of vehicles it would cover, from the Fo cus to the Thunderbird, said Castelli.

JWT Detroit’s effort for Taurus marks the first time in two years the sedan has received a national TV push. Previously, Ford took the Taurus allocation from the national ad budget and gave it to dealers to spend on regional efforts.

This year, Ford wanted to promote changes to the vehicle, Castelli said. The car maker claims to have improved the design, comfort and safety, offering better sealing for decreased road noise, richer-looking seat fabrics and quieter brakes.

In JWT’s spot, a chauffeur picks up his client in a Ford Taurus SEL. The client is engrossed in a cell-phone conversation, but he starts to notice the car’s features. He asks, “Did we get a new car?” The chauffeur replies, “No, sir, your car is in for service. This is my car.”

Spending for the vehicle in the 2003 model year will rise at least 20 percent over last year, Castelli said. Combined dealer and national spending on Taurus totaled $19 million in the 2002 model year, down from $36 million in the 2001 model year, per CMR. During the last national push in the 2000 model year, the vehicle received $94 million in backing.