DETROIT – The Mercury division of Ford has been gaining respect lately since Ford has been giving it more advertising dollars. And next year, when Mercury gets its version of Ford’s world-car – sold in Europe as the Mondeo – it is expected to reposition the division around a new slogan.
‘We know that our image is not yet clear in the marketplace,’ said general marketing manager Stephen Lyons. ‘And our agency (Young & Rubicam) would like to create a new line for us, so I have told them to bring us something better than what we have, and we’ll talk about it.’
What Mercury has now is, ‘All this and the quality of a Mercury.’ But it has little recognition despite the fact that Mercury is the No. 7 auto brand in the U.S. based on sales through February. Mercury closed out 1992 with a 3.2% market share, up from 2.9% in 1991. So far this year, sales are running 12% ahead, mostly on the strength of the Villager minivan that was introduced last fall.
Lyons said 30% of Villager buyers are trading in import cars, compared with a 10% import conquest rate for Mercury passenger cars. And though he did not have a hard number available, he said, the conquests of Chrysler owners, was higher than he anticipated.
Y&R energized Mercury advertising last year with the hiring of Mike Belitsos, who had previously been creative director on Jeep-Eagle advertising at CME-KHBB. Belitsos, who last fall took over responsibility for Lincoln as well, also worked in Y&R’s German office last fall, shaping ads for the launch of Ford’s Mondeo.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)
Get Adweek's Brand Marketing Daily Newsletter in your Inbox
Today's highs and lows of creativity