Auto Service World
News   April 28, 2006   by Auto Service World

Ford Accepting RealityTelevision

Ford will soon begin shopping a new reality television program to networks, according to recent reports in The Detroit News.
The collaboration between Ford Motor Company, and its advertising firm, J. Walter Thompson Co. will apparently revolve around contestants joining a Ford design team in the creation of a new concept car.
The television show is to go hand in hand with a new ad campaign, rumored to be one of the most ambitious from the company in decades, called “Bold Moves.”
At this point the plan has been only shared with dealers and top level people at Ford, but Jim Sanfilippo, an analyst with Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc., seems to agree with the general direction of the campaign, which will be launched in earnest with a Tuesday night, American Idol ad featuring Kelly Clarkson.
“It’s a very cool idea,” Sanfilippo said. “It’s a way to engage the audience in a way that they can they can identify it.”
Other automakers seem to be chomping at the new-media bit as well, with reports of import competitors, Honda and Toyota, working on their own television show tie-ins.
As excited as Ford dealers seem to be with the new campaign, previous attempts at this bold style of marketing have not necessarily met with great success, as General Motor’s learned earlier this year.
On an episode of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” dealers wound-up frustrated and annoyed with contestants’ efforts to market the new Tahoe, and an affiliated web-cite setup to allow viewers to design their own campaign, was used largely to ridicule the company.
Despite the risk, Ford dealers seem happy with the direction, as former head of the Dealer network Jerry Reynolds said, “I came away really excited. This is a whole new Ford Motor Co.”
Ford is looking to rebound from a first quarter loss of U.S.$1.2 billion, attributed largely to a problematic North American market.

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