Sibling SUVs Display Differences

Ford and Mercury are taking different approaches in bringing their 2002 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer models—sibling SUVs with similar parts but different styles—to market.

Six Mountaineer TV spots from Young & Rubicam, Irvine, Calif., begin airing April 16 and show the vehicle in urban settings. The brand’s target audience doesn’t pretend to be outdoor enthusiasts, negating the need for the usual show of SUV brawn, said Deborah Wahl, Lincoln Mercury marketing communications manager.

The Explorer gets more rugged treatment in a TV spot being shot in Iceland by J. Walter Thompson, Detroit. Breaking April 23, the spot shows the SUV driving through a field of active geysers to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

It’s the only spot specifically for Explorer, as the brand is covered by Ford’s “No boundaries. Ford outfitters” campaign for all of its SUVs.

Ford’s Lincoln Mercury division will put about half of its overall advertising budget into the Mountaineer relaunch, Wahl said. The division spent about $245 million in 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Ford Division executives said the Explorer launch also will get a significant chunk of its annual budget. The division spent about $115 million in measured media advertising on Ford sport utilities in 2000, per Competitive Media Reporting.

For Mountaineer, one 60-second overall launch spot sets the tone for the truck’s “urban sophistication” positioning while five 30-second executions will highlight different attributes. All include the tagline, “The SUV built for here, is here.”