Interactive Push Plays Up Ford F-150 Contest

NEW YORK Ford this week kicked off an interactive effort to promote a sweepstakes surrounding its F-150 and college football’s Bowl Championship Series.

The online push running on the home pages of Yahoo! and AOL encourages users to enter the “F-150 for Life” contest, which gives participants the chance to win a trip to the Nokia Sugar Bowl and a new Ford F-150 every five years.

The ads, jointly developed by the Web portals and J. Walter Thompson’s digital@jwt in Detroit, direct people to the Ford Web page (www.fordvehicles.com) to register for the promotion. The Dearborn, Mich.-based car maker said it intends to reach nearly 30 million Internet users with the online ads.

The sweepstakes, managed by ESPN and ABC Sports, calls for entrants to tune-in to the Rose Bowl and FedEx Orange Bowl games on Jan. 1, 2004, and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 2004. Soon after the end of each game, a Ford representative will call randomly selected registrants asking them to identify the play that earned the “Built Ford Tough Play of the Game.”

The first participant to answer the question correctly will receive a free trip to the Sugar Bowl, which will determine college football’s national champion. During pre-game festivities, three first-prize winners will each draw a key that may or may not start a new 2004 F-150. The one with the key that starts the engine gets the grand prize package of a new F-150 every five years and a lifetime supply of gasoline from BP.

Ford broke a $100 million campaign for the F-150 pickup truck last month. The online portion included a one-day ad blitz on major portals, like MSN, Yahoo! and AOL [IQ Daily Briefing, Sept. 4].