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)