America’s number two carmaker, Ford Motor Company, says it plans to run TV commercial on September 11, the first anniversary of the terrorist outrage.

Most advertisers fear they will be seen to be ‘cashing in’ on a national tragedy by advertising on a day when TV audiences are likely to reach this year’s highest level.

But Ford insists the company wants to “demonstrate a sense of resolve” during that day’s entertainment and sports broadcasts. “We feel people watching that programming need a space where the message is clear [that] the country has moved on from the tragedy,” says communications manager for global marketing Paige Johnson.

The auto giant will not, however, air traditional commercials: “It’s not an appropriate place for commercial messages,” Johnson believes, and the company will be “evaluating" its ads – one of which is expected to feature a message from its chairman Bill Ford.

In a round-up of advertisers’ and networks’ September 11 intentions, Monday’s USA Today reports …

Possible advertisers
Boeing, maker of the four hijacked jets, is “in negotiations” to sponsor NBC's broadcast of Concert for America. Nextel is "considering" sponsoring the rebroadcast of the documentary 9/11 on CBS, which it underwrote earlier this year,

The two airlines that owned the four jets hijacked by the terrorists won’t advertise. United Airlines will pull all ads that day, while American Airlines will pull all ads from Labor Day to September 20. A Coca-Cola spokesperson revealed: “Out of respect, it didn't seem appropriate to air on that day.”

Network confusion
The TV networks are split as to what to do for the best. ABC is seeking sponsorship deals. NBC and CBS are still debating the issue. Fox won't accept any ads all day.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff