Ford takes global view

28 February 2011

DEARBORN: Ford will look to international markets and tap in to consumers' fuel economy concerns in a new global ad campaign for its Focus model, in an attempt to boost sales even as oil prices rise.

The New York Times reports that the automaker will be taking a "global" perspective in promoting the 2012 Ford Focus, with WPP agency consortium Global Team Ford developing a single campaign that will be rolled out worldwide.

"The last time we launched a car, we had eight [campaigns]," James D Farley, Ford group vice president for global marketing, sales and service, said at a news conference.

Ads in traditional media, including TV spots and newspaper and magazine ads, will share a similar "look", reflecting the Focus' repositioning as a "world car".

Farley added that the Focus is set to be "the biggest launch we've ever had, the biggest media weight".

Ford hopes that the range's smaller sizes - and the fact that some of the models will be hybrid and electric cars - will be a selling point in a world of rising fuel prices.

The Focus' fuel economy will be highlighted in some of the ads - as will the possibility for customers to add on fuel-saving technology that automatically cuts out the engine when the car stops.

"With this car and this launch, the most important thing is providing a simple explanation of the product and the technology. Particularly as oil nears the $100 oil price, technology elements are becoming more important. It resonates with consumers all around the world," Farley was quoted by Mediapost as saying.

The ads strike an optimistic tone following what has proved a tough few years for US automakers.

While Ford avoided filing for bankruptcy protection throughout the economic downturn, rivals GM and Chrysler both decided to take US government support in 2009.

Chrysler references the crisis in its current Imported from Detroit campaign, based around a TV commercial starring rapper Eminem which premiered during this year's Super Bowl.

The Wieden & Kennedy-developed spot, which highlighted the motor city's rebirth following hard times and promoted the automaker's new Chrysler 200 model, has generated significant online buzz.

AdAge reports that the campaign was the second most-popular viral ad in the last week, generating 2.45m views over the seven-day period.

It was behind another Super Bowl ad, Volkswagen and Deutsch's The Force, which had 3.49m views.

Data sourced from New York Times/Mediapost/Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff