Ford Takes Journalistic Approach

News Photographers Hired to Capture ‘Real-Life’ Truck Stories
DETROIT–Three months after telling media buyers of plans to reallocate large portions of its print advertising budget, Ford Motor Co. has unveiled a new Ford truck campaign that includes the same print/broadcast spending ratio as past years.
The automaker believes the print element of the “Ford Country” campaign will have more impact than past efforts, said Jan Klug, the Ford division’s marketing communications manager.
Instead of using the standard “beauty shots” of the vehicles, Ford sent three photojournalists out to find real-life stories of Ford truck owners. The ads were shot “news-style” by the photographers, whose resumes included work for National Geographic and Time. They also gathered the quotes used in the ads.
Red Hammer, the print creative group of Ford agency J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, built the ads using the photojournalists’ pictures and copy, said Bruce Rooke, JWT creative director for Ford. “We stayed away from the shoots on purpose so [the photojournalists] could find the ‘truth’ that’s out there,” Rooke said.
“We think there’s an element of humanity that comes through in these ads,” Klug said.
The print campaign breaks in early November and will run through the end of the 2000 model year. Both print and TV ads retain the tagline “Built Ford tough.”
Ford spent about $270 million on Ford truck ads in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and $227 million through the first seven months of 1999. The automaker told media
buyers in July it planned to slash its traditional media budget, largely print, in the coming year. Klug said the truck campaign unveiled last week was not affected by those plans.
Also as part of this year’s Ford truck campaign, four national TV spots break Oct. 30 during college football games. They do not feature real people, but have a similar feel of people using their trucks for work and pleasure.