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Mustang Hands the Keys to McQueen

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NEW YORK Ford will put Steve McQueen back in a starring role next month when a digitally reproduced image of the late actor appears in a national TV spot for the 2005 Mustang.

The spot, via WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson in Detroit, not only evokes McQueen's role in the 1968 film Bullitt, in which he plays a San Francisco cop who tracks down criminals behind the wheel of a Mustang, but also the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. In that film, Kevin Costner builds a baseball diamond in his Iowa cornfield, which attracts such legendary players as Shoeless Joe Jackson. In the Mustang spot, a farmer builds a winding racetrack, which he then drives around in a 2005 Mustang. Soon, McQueen emerges from the cornfield and the farmer tosses his keys to him, who then drives off in the car. The actor's likeness was created by a body double and digital editing.

The Mustang spot is part of a comprehensive marketing effort Ford currently is launching. Ford is upping its fourth-quarter advertising budget to $170 million, about 50 percent more than was spent during the final three months of 2003, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

—Brandweek staff report