Ford Unifying Effort Behind SUVs

JWT to Promote 3 Ford Truck Models With ‘Outfitters’ Campaign
DETROIT–Ford Motor Co. will launch an estimated $50 million image campaign in the fourth quarter under the theme “Outfitters” to promote its Ford division’s sport utility vehicles, according to sources.
The campaign, using the tagline “Boundaries not included,” will employ TV spots from J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, that show the range of capabilities of the automaker’s Explorer and Expedition models, as well as its all-new Excursion SUV, which goes on sale this fall.
The agency declined comment, referring calls to Ford. A Ford representative said the effort would be announced next week, but declined further comment.
One 30-second TV spot shows vehicles in activities ranging from extreme winter sports to a quiet fishing trip by a child and grandfather, stressing the breadth of the Ford SUV lineup, said a source familiar with the work. The spot uses fast clips and upbeat images to make its point. Print support will follow in outdoor magazines in the first quarter of 2000. The campaign will continue running throughout next year.
Absent from the campaign is the “Built Ford tough” tagline, which will now be reserved for Ford pickup trucks, a source said.
The goal of the campaign is to drive buyers into Ford dealerships to learn more about the lineup. The marketing effort is at least in part the brainchild of a product person, Gurminder Bedi, Ford Truck Vehicle Center vice president, a source said.
While overall SUV sales are up 11 percent for the first six months of 1999 compared to the same period in 1998, competition is increasing in the segment, with several new entries including the Nissan Xterra, Cadillac Escalade and all-new Chevrolet Suburban coming in the fall. Ford Explorer sales were up 13 percent and Expedition sales up 4 percent through the first six months of this year versus 1998.
Ford will do some individual vehicle advertising for its SUVs, but the “Outfitters” campaign will provide a corporate umbrella and receive a “substantial” portion of the budget, both for the fourth quarter and for 2000, sources said.
Ford’s overall advertising budget will increase in 2000. Ford spent approximately $94 million in measured media advertising on the Expedition and Explorer in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.