Ford Tries New Tagline, Approach And Doubles Its February Spending

Ford Motor Co.’s Ford division will spend about $80 million this month to introduce a new campaign and the tagline, “Built to last.”
The effort doubles what Ford spent last year ($40 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting), said Gerry Donnelly, Ford division marketing communications manager.
The client has bought 175 30-second units in CBS’ Winter Olympics coverage, which began Feb. 6. The campaign also includes full-page ads in USA Today each day of the games, Donnelly said.
As expected, the 15-year-old “Have you driven a Ford lately?” tag was dropped [Adweek, Jan. 12]. The “Built to last” line is used for cars. “Built Ford tough” is retained for trucks.
The campaign, by J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, also features a change in approach from last year: All the ads are linked by a “storytelling” theme. The ads’ “storyteller” is John Corbett (Chris the DJ from Northern Exposure), who narrates every spot. There are spots for the Mustang, Taurus, Escort ZX2, and F-Series pickup. Two more focus on the brand’s history and the Race for the Cure, a breast cancer charity, respectively.
The ad for the F-Series features a wager between two friends, Ray and Charlie. Charlie bets Ray’s truck cannot tow an 8,000-ton ship moored nearby. Of course, Charlie loses.
The Escort spot shows two women in a ZX2 attempting to lose a van that has been following them. They head down a small alley to elude the van, which drives past. Only then do the women realize their pursuer was the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol.
Previously, the division’s ads had all been unrelated, bar the tag.
Ford considered using the popular truck tag for cars, but that idea tested poorly with some women, said Bruce Rooke, executive vice president and creative director at JWT.
Also, Ford deliberately decided not to use a megastar such as Tom Hanks who would have “stolen the thunder” from the vehicles, and Corbett tested strongly, Donnelly said.