Brooke Shields Makes Pitch For SoCal Ford Dealers

Brooke Shields has starred in films and on Broadway, modeled clothes, earned a degree in French literature, married a tennis star, written a book and become a mother. It was this breadth of experience that attracted Dailey & Associates and the Southern California Ford Dealer Association to her—a move that resulted in Shields becoming the spokesperson for a new vehicle lineup, which she touts in three spots that debut Nov. 9.

“Brooke is the perfect expression of a wide range of products,” said Cliff Einstein, chairman of the West Hollywood, Calif., Interpublic Group agency, which has held the regional dealerships’ account for almost three decades. The iconic qualities of both Ford’s latest offerings and Shields are expected to “bring in consumers who have not been going to Ford dealers in many years,” Einstein added. “She’s many things for many people.”

The new work starring Shields—who during the summer signed a two-year, 12-spot contract—backs three new models, whose features are meant to reflect her diverse attributes. One spot introduces the Ford 500 midsize sedan as a surprisingly spacious luxury vehicle, which Shields, appearing in an understated but dressy outfit, describes as both “elegant and practical.” In another ad, she touts the new Mustang as “sexier and more sophisticated” than earlier models. In a third spot, Shields is shown running errands, picnicking and heading out for a night on the town with her Ford Freestyle station wagon-SUV.

“The key is we tried to make them feel real and relevant,” said Lisa Kleckner Ansis, an svp, creative director at Dailey and longtime copywriter on the Ford account.

The use of celebrities is not new for the client, though Shields represents a more contemporary, all-encompassing ideal than previous efforts. A creative team that included Ansis, Einstein, Dailey evp, cd Michael Faulkner and vp, cd Dennis Hodgson worked on a 13-year branding campaign featuring actress Lindsay Wagner that ran until 2001. For the past three years, Dailey has used personalities such as Rick Fox, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers, in spots that were more skewed toward men.

According to Ford—which earlier this year launched the tagline “Built for the road ahead” in national spots by WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson in Detroit—California comprises about 10 percent of new-vehicle sales for the company. National advertising also focuses on product attributes, said John Clinard, Western regional public affairs manager for Ford. The Southern California Dealer Association has about 115 dealers, who complement national advertising by pooling financial resources to develop regional efforts. “Southern California has a flavor all to itself,” said Kelly McMullen, chairman of the Advertising Association of Southern California Ford Dealers.

Neither Einstein nor dealer execs would disclose spending on the effort. The collective ad budget for the Ford dealer associations of Los Angeles and San Diego counties was $90 million in 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.