Ford Boosts Spending for New Ads

21 TV Spots, Plus Print Work, Backed by 11 Percent Dollar Increase
DETROIT–Ford Motor Co. said it is increasing ad spending for its Ford division by 11 percent for the 1998 model year, which begins this month, with dollar increases in all media.
That would mean measured-media spending of about $550 million, based on Competitive Media Reporting data.
The spending boost comes as Ford launches a new campaign consisting of 21 TV spots in primetime broadcast and cable network slots this week, after previewing a few ads regionally during National Football League broadcasts on Sept. 14 and 21.
Global Ford agency J. Walter Thompson here created 17 spots. UniWorld Group, New York, created two spots targeted at African Americans, and Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., handled two for Hispanic consumers. Two of JWT’s spots are carryovers from the last model year.
Several of the spots use pop songs from the 1960s as backgrounds. Two Taurus spots include cuts from The Who’s “Can’t Explain,” in an effort to lower the average age of the car’s buyer from 56 to the early to mid-40s.
One ad, for the Explorer, is set to George and Ira Gershwin’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” It features a couple–she is a city lover, he is a country boy–using their Explorer for their different activities: He goes fishing, she goes shopping.
Ford is keeping the “Have you driven a Ford lately?” tag for cars and “Built Ford tough” for trucks. “We did take a look at the [car] tagline,” said Gerry Donnelly, Ford division marketing communications manager, “but it’s still the most recognizable tagline in the auto industry.”
The print campaign breaks at the end of this month in newsweeklies.
“When you combine that [spending] increase with our dealer association support, I think it gives Ford one of the most powerful voices in the marketplace,” said Donnelly.
Three of the top five best-selling vehicles in the U.S. last year were Fords, according to Reuters. Chrysler and General Motors had one each.