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Global Ford ad effort is keyed to Focus technology

Ford Motor is using its first global vehicle ad campaign to highlight the technology of the redesigned 2012 Focus.


DETROIT--Ford Motor is using its first global vehicle ad campaign to highlight the technology of the redesigned 2012 Focus.

The Focus and 14 aspects of its technology will be featured in 50 commercials tailored to markets where the vehicle will be sold.

It's the first time Ford has taken a global approach to marketing a vehicle, the company said last week.

"One out of every four vehicles sold worldwide is from the C segment," Jim Farley, Ford's top marketing executive, said in a statement.

He says the advertising tells drivers about "technology that improves their lives." Farley said Ford needed a quick, engaging way to talk about the new features. The automaker turned to TV spots that will run 15 seconds in North America and 20 seconds in Europe.

The commercials will highlight such features as rain-sensor wipers, parallel-parking assist, a rearview camera, Wi-Fi access, Sync, and MyFord Touch. A new four-cylinder direct-injection engine that Ford estimates will be rated at up to 40 mpg on the highway also will get attention.

Many of these features are not offered in other vehicles in the compact car segment, Ford said.

Ford's ad agency, WPP, created the campaign, which begins Tuesday, March 1, in the United States during the "American Idol" TV show on Fox.

The spots then will roll out across Europe during the following weeks. Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa will follow in the second half of the year, Ford said.

The redesigned Focus will compete with compacts such as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra.

It is wider, longer, and slightly lower than the previous Focus. Its torque-vectoring control system uses the brakes to imitate the effect of a limited slip differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque between the front wheels during cornering.

The result is improved road grip and sharper steering, Ford says.

Ford already is using social media to advertise the Focus. Ford started its online Focus Rally campaign Feb. 4. Viewers can follow a cross-country road race online and offer suggestions to help the teams.

Ford has said it wants to market the Focus to younger buyers, but it also expects some baby boomers to move down from midsized cars and SUVs because of the Focus' technology, better fuel economy, and lower price tag.

The Focus is built at Ford's Michigan Assembly plant in suburban Detroit and is scheduled to arrive at dealerships in March. It will come in two body styles: a four-door sedan that starts at $16,995 and a five-door hatchback that starts at $18,790. Prices include shipping.

The hatchback will account for about 60 percent of 2012 Focus sales, according to Robert Parker, Ford's group marketing manager for small and medium cars.

(Source: Automotive News)