Yes, not as much Jill Wagner as we'd like, but hell, we'll take as much of her as FoMoCo will give us. In this episode of Blade commercialism from the not-Ford brand, our fair heroine is explaining how she can single-handedly re-badge a Ford product as a Mercury by placing the badge in the middle of thin air, and then watching as a Ford Escape Mercury Mariner is born. We kid FoMoCo, actually the ad's all about...well, hell, the press release is right after the jump.

2008 MERCURY MARINER BUILDS ON MOMENTUM WITH NEW HIGH-TECH COMPUTER GENERATED ADS

* New 2008 Mercury Mariner, boasting a new design, lower suggested MSRP and greater fuel efficiency, aims to build upon one of the strongest vehicle conquest rates within Ford Motor Company.
* Cutting-edge 3D animation technology drives captivating new ads that showcase the 2008 Mercury Mariner's sophisticated design and styling.
* Hitting network airwaves now, the ads will appear in lifestyle media that tap into the Mariner customer's passions for cooking, health and fitness, and home design.

DEARBORN, Mich., March 26, 2007 - The 2008 Mercury Mariner - the nameplate that has helped put Mercury back on consumers' consideration list - is arriving in dealerships this month supported by an ad campaign designed to build on its momentum of attracting new, younger, and more diverse customers to the Mercury brand.

The ad campaign, created by Y&R Team Detroit, employs the latest 3D computer-generated animation technology to create visually captivating images of the 2008 Mercury Mariner that focus on the vehicle's design features and its available hybrid powertrain.

"We've put a lot of creative power behind these ads because we want to underscore the design sophistication of the 2008 Mercury Mariner," said Mike Richards, Lincoln Mercury General Marketing Manager. "The Mariner is a very important vehicle to our line-up as it has proven to be very effective in attracting new customers to the Mercury brand. The latest sales data shows more than a 48 percent conquest rate for the Mercury Mariner* and that it has been well-received among a diverse range of consumers."

Cutting-edge advertising opens new dimensions

More than 50 percent of Mercury Mariner customers are female, compared with 40 percent female customers for the overall Mercury brand.* In addition, the average Mercury Mariner customer is younger than the average Mercury customer: age 47 v. age 55.*

To appeal to these consumers, Mercury created an ad campaign that employs sophisticated photography techniques and draws the eye to the Mariner's contemporary design. The first TV spot for the 2008 Mercury Mariner, titled "Sound Waves," opens with Mercury spokesperson Jill Wagner posing the question, "What happens when an idea strikes just the right note?" Wagner taps the Mercury logo and sound waves reverberate and take shape in the form of the Mercury Mariner. The image then comes into focus to highlight the new design features of the vehicle, both inside and out.

The TV spots are produced by Tight Films and directed by The Brothers Strause, an award-winning team whose latest credits include VFX Supervision on the movies, "300," the "X-Men: The Last Stand," and the Academy-Award winning "Titanic." Hydraulx, a special effects company owned by The Brothers Strause, researched particle and fluid movement and created their own computer code to generate the sound wave effect in the first Mariner spot. Two additional TV spots, also directed by The Brothers Strause, are planned to begin airing in April. A similar creative approach will be carried through to the online ad campaign, which also is slated to begin in April.

The print campaign carries forward the emphasis on the vehicle's design and consists of several ads, including two that will be seen in May magazines on stands next month. The first, titled "One dynamic form," focuses on the design enhancements and patented improvements to the vehicle. The second, "Now, more stop means more go," highlights the regenerative braking function of the Mariner Hybrid's powertrain.

Connecting with consumers' passions

To reach the Mariner's target customers, Mercury will leverage their passion for cooking, home design and a healthy lifestyle, choosing to advertise the compact SUV on cable networks, such as HGTV, the Food Network, and DIY. Sponsorships will be tied to specific programs, such as "The Next Food Network Star" and "Basics-Urban Gardening," and will include online advertising, product integration and other marketing elements. Focus on these passion points carries over to other media as well, including print ads planned for Yoga Journal, Everyday with Rachel Ray and Outside, among others.

New 2008 Mercury Mariner Enhancements

The 2008 Mercury Mariner is completely redesigned inside and out and exemplifies the sophisticated and stylish design expected of a modern Mercury. In addition to fresh sheet metal and a new interior, Mariner is updated with a comprehensive standard safety package, a quieter ride and more refined driving dynamics. What has not changed is the overall package: Mariner retains the fuel-efficiency, maneuverability and the fun-to-drive nature that are core characteristics of the compact SUV package.

The 2008 Mariner enters the market at a time when customers are looking for smaller SUVs that still deliver on the attributes demanded of a traditional SUV, such as four-wheel drive, a commanding seating position, towing capability and good cargo capacity. The new Mariner continues to balance all these demands, wrapping it all in a sophisticated and stylish package that can be found only on a Mercury.

For more information about the 2008 Mercury Mariner, please go to www.media.ford.com or www.mercuryvehicles.com.

*According to J.D. Power Information Network.

About Mercury

Mercury is a brand of the Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., that manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 280,000 employees and 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Aston Martin and Mazda.. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.

Related:
A More Convenient Truth: Al Gore Trades In Toyota For A Ford Hybrid ; Avast Ye! Mercury Reveals 2008 Mariner ; Heating Up The Mercury: Brand Spokeswoman Jill Wagner Looking Hot And Bothered On the Small Screen In 'Blade' [internal]