Ford Joins Nontraditional Push

Readies ‘Spirit’ Science Center in Michigan
DETROIT–Ford Motor Co.’s “Spirit of Ford” automotive science and technology center in Dearborn, Mich., represents the latest effort by an automaker to connect with consumers outside traditional advertising.
Advertising for the center was assigned to the Campbell Group in Baltimore following a review that included the car maker’s Ford division agency, J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, as well as Alan Frank & Associates, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and other Michigan shops.
Billings were undisclosed but are expected to reach an estimated $2-4 million after a year, sources said.
The high-tech, interactive center is due to open May 29 near the popular Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum. An ad campaign will break in late April, according to Mary Louise Majewski, the center’s director. It is likely to include outdoor, print and radio work, although a final marketing plan is still being approved, she said.
Other nontraditional marketing efforts by automakers include Test Track, a General Motors-sponsored roller coaster that opened recently at Walt Disney World in Florida. Also, Chrysler’s Dodge division is joining with Universal Studios for joint marketing efforts around its new theme park, Islands of Adventure, scheduled to open in Orlando, Fla., this summer.
Ford’s center will include virtual reality technology exhibits, including a Turbo Tour Simulator in which participants assume the perspective of a car going down an assembly line. Another exhibit gives visitors a peek at the vehicle design process.
–Tanya Irwin