Ford’s Focus Does the Talking

NEW YORK Ford’s 2005 Focus will make a case for itself in a TV and print campaign this weekend sporting the tagline, “Begs to be driven.”

The TV, outdoor, print and interactive effort, via J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, and Hispanic agency Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., introduces a creative theme in which the sporty compact talks to its owners. One spot has the Focus parked outside its owner’s house, mimicking a rooster and begging its owner to wake up and take the car for a drive.

Four 15-second teaser spots launch this Sunday on network TV. In launch spots breaking next Wednesday on Fox’s American Idol, the car touts improvements, like its more powerful, cleaner engine. The ads will feature the top-of-the-line Focus ST. Hispanic work breaks May 1.

The car also will be featured in an American Idol music video, part of Ford’s ongoing relationship with the Fox program. Print ads, breaking later, take the same theme, with text like, “You know what’s more fun than reading magazines? Reading maps. Let’s go somewhere.”

A Web effort will include a micro-site at www.ford.com and banner ad placement deals.

While the new work is humorous, Ford has backed off on experimental theatrics surrounding the car’s 2001 launch such as live TV ads in which viewers could “tell” comedienne Annabelle Gurwitch, host of TBS’ Dinner & A Movie, what to do.

Campaign spending was not revealed for the new effort, but Ford spent $87 million last year against its No. 2-selling vehicle, Focus, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

In the first quarter this year, sales were off about 20 percent for the car, now in its fourth year.