Ford Attempts to Restore Trust

A new Ford Motor Co. corporate campaign aims to restore trust in the brand and differentiate it for owners and potential buyers.

Created by J. Walter Thompson, the campaign features footage of old and new products. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. narrates the TV spots and will also appear in the print campaign, said Bruce Rooke, executive creative director at the Detroit agency. More than 80 Ford employees are featured in the campaign.

Plans to use Ford, the great- grandson of company founder Henry Ford, were under way even before the 44-year-old was elevated to the CEO’s post last fall, Rooke said. Part of Ford’s mission is to restore the company’s battered image, and the automaker’s heritage is one tool that will be used toward that end.

“He looks at the company as being about more than just products and a bottom line,” Rooke said.

Four documentary-style 60-second spots break Feb. 25 on network prime time and cable and seek to tell “the story behind the products,” Rooke said. A print campaign aimed at the financial and investment community will follow.

The campaign expands the use of the “No boundaries” tagline originally introduced in Ford truck advertising in 1999. Rooke said the line is meant to drive the campaign.

In the commercials, Ford shares his views about Ford’s history, products and future. “My great-grand father Henry Ford really re defined what it meant to live in this country,” he says in one spot. ” ‘No boundaries’ ap plied to everything he did, and that’s the part of him that really inspires me. It’s a wonderful legacy.”

Bill Ford joined the automaker in 1979 as a product planning analyst. His early posts in cluded stints in the marketing de partment, and he helped launch the Ford Tempo as its advertising manager.

A Ford representative declined to reveal campaign spending. Ford spent $540 million on advertising in the first 11 months of 2001, according to CMR.