Ford Spots Make a Play for the Heart

DETROIT Ford’s new ads for its 2008 Taurus sedan promote a simple message of safety in the “Rated safest car in America” tagline.

The first broadcast spot, “We Know,” which broke last night (via JWT Team Detroit), tugs heartstrings. It first shows a father watching his son taking a bike ride, then jumps to the dad handing over the key to a new Taurus, saying, “You drive.”

It is the first of two broadcast ads that will support the Taurus, a rebadging of the failed Ford Five Hundred sedan. The latest Taurus includes new front and rear styling, as well as an upgraded, more powerful engine.

The Five Hundred has underperformed since hitting the market in the 2005 model year with the tag “Elevating the sedan.”

“That was not nearly as meaningful as being rated the safest full-sized passenger car in America,” said Jim Cain, a Ford rep, who added that the new Taurus would also be supported with a full-on public relations campaign targeting families and parents with the safety message.

Substantial tier-two support will complement broadcast, print and online elements, Cain added.

The Taurus X, a crossover SUV that will begin production in the fall, will also note the Taurus sedan in ads to begin later this year.

Ford halted production of the Taurus last October, ending the first life of the best-selling car in the U.S. from 1992 to 1996. In February, Ford announced it would bring back the familiar name to replace the Five Hundred.

Ford spent $1.75 billion on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Ad spending through April is $580 million.