Ad Watch: Hachette Buff-Mag Intellectual Reacharound Further Engorges With New "Ford Challenge" Commercials

And now the trilogy of advertising semi-randomness from FoMoCo is complete. In many ways we're thinking this is the last salvo of the Ford marketing team's attempt to show Alan Mulally they're relevant. And if they failed at it in any way like the second to last salvo, it's not going to end very well at all. But we digress, let's get back to the last two ads from FoMoCo's wild ride. They're a continuation of the buff mag hand-job product placement we've already seen called the "Fusion Challenge." If you don't remember that's when FoMoCo sponsored a Car & Driver happy ending product whoring escapade "independent test" involving the Hachette magazine's readers. In case "sponsored" isn't clear enough, here's a better pair of words to use — "paid off." Well, Car & Driver ain't the only Hachette mag involved in this little bit of intellectual reacharound action, now it includes the other ampersand-in-the-title car porn book. That's right, Road & Track was a part of the game as well, running their own little LA-based challenge, and with predictable results. The first ad's above, and the second's below the jump, along with the press release from Dearborn for some "independent" explanation of today's advertising fun.


* "Ford Challenge" integrated marketing campaign highlights features that make Ford Fusion, Expedition EL and F-150 best in class.
* Ford Fusion tops Asian competitors in head-to-head L.A. shootout organized for Road & Track subscribers - results track success of similar drive in Washington, D.C.
* Ford Expedition EL trumps long-time segment leader in seating package, flexibility, ease of use and comfort.
* Ford F-150 features best-in-class towing and payload capability, and a new spokesperson ready to take on any tough job: Discovery Channel star Mike Rowe, creator of "Dirty Jobs."


DEARBORN, Mich., March 1, 2007 - Humor and the spirit of competition are at the heart of the "Ford Challenge" - a new integrated broadcast, digital and print marketing campaign for the 2007 Ford Fusion, Expedition EL and F-150 that begins airing this week.

"Ford products offer some of the best quality, the most advanced technology and sophisticated designs available today, and that's the focus of the Ford Challenge," said Cisco Codina, group vice president, North American Marketing, Sales and Service.

An overarching ad titled "Anthem" highlights Ford's strengths over the company's 103-year history and encourages consumers to take the Ford Challenge. Classic footage of the Model T introduces the commercial as a voiceover tells consumers, "They didn't buy the Model T just because it was priced right." Viewers then see images of today's strong product lineup as the voiceover says, "We had to prove ourselves then. And we're still proving ourselves today."

Consumer information on each of the products featured in these ads will be available on the Web site: The site also will feature current sales and marketing offers, product reviews and competitive information from MSN Autos, Yahoo!Autos and

Ford Fusion

In the first "Fusion Challenge" event held in December 2006, subscribers of Car and Driver magazine ranked the 2007 Ford Fusion V-6 with all-wheel drive ahead of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry V-6 models in key areas like "styling," "handling" and "fun to drive" after a head-to-head comparison test.

Only top-of-the-line models were tested. The Fusion was tested with all-wheel drive, but that feature isn't offered on Camry and Accord. The price of an all-wheel drive Fusion is comparable to the price of these front-wheel drive V-6 powered Japanese sedans.

The sales and marketing campaign built around the Fusion Challenge has been an overwhelming success: Ford Fusion will post a double-digit sales increase in February compared with a year ago, and the percentage of conquest sales - customers new to Ford Motor Company - has hit an all-time high of 47 percent.

Now, Ford will launch new ads focusing on a rematch of the Fusion Challenge, held in January in Los Angeles for subscribers of Road & Track magazine. The results closely mirrored those of the Washington, D.C. event, with Fusion scoring higher than the imports on key attributes including "Precise Handling," "Attractive Styling," "Fun to Drive" and "Performs Well."

The first national television ad created from the event, "L.A. Launch Challenge: We Did It Again," marries driving footage with consumer comments. It debuted on Feb. 28 on the Fox network hit "American Idol."

Ford Expedition EL

The all-new 2007 Ford Expedition and extended-length Expedition EL are Ford's newest full-size SUVs. Introduced in the fall of 2006, the Expeditions deliver exceptional capability, functionality and toughness, and the Expedition EL already is winning head-to-head media comparisons in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Motor Trend.

The Expedition EL will be featured in two new spots titled "Exercise" and "Work Out," which use humor to highlight the advantages of Expedition's easy to use, flexible seats - especially its one-touch power-folding third row. In one ad, a fitness instructor uses the heavy, bulky third row seats of the Chevrolet Suburban - which have to be removed from the vehicle to carry many larger loads - for grueling physical training.

The ads for the Expedition EL will begin airing today.

Ford F-150

This year, Ford is launching the most capable heavy duty pickup ever built - the Ford F-Series Super Duty - and the most capable light duty truck ever - the Ford F-150. Together, these products will help the Ford F-Series build on its 30-year track record as the best-selling line of pickup trucks.

To help carry the message that F-150 - with its maximum tow rating of 11,000 pounds and payload capacity of more than 3,000 pounds - is ready for any job, Ford has recruited a new member to the "Build Ford Tough" marketing dream team: Mike Rowe, creator and star of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs."

In his series, Rowe explores the dirty side of earning an honest living. In his first F-150 spot, titled "Boxed," viewers will see Rowe at a campground where the Ford F-150 easily tows an 11,000 pound trailer, while it takes two trucks from the competition to pull the same load.

In the second spot, "Leaf Spring," Rowe is at a landscaping site helping a crew load massive amounts of landscaping material into the bed of the F-150. The F-Series is the only truck in its class that can carry 3,050 pounds, 890 pounds more than its closest competitor.

"'Dirty Jobs' celebrates the people who do the kind of jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us," said Mike Rowe, Ford spokesperson. "It's no coincidence that those people rely on Ford trucks to get the job done. I see it over and over again."

The new F-150 commercials begin airing nationally this weekend. Rowe will also appear in print and digital ads. International country music star and Ford Truck Man Toby Keith will continue to appear in Ford commercials for the F-Series.

Special Offers on Ford Challenge Products

To help continue momentum on the products featured in the new Ford Challenge ads, Ford is introducing a number of attractive retail and lease offers in conjunction with the debut of the new ad campaign.

* A"Sign and Drive" Ford Red Carpet Lease on the Fusion SE I-4, with payments of $249/month with $0 Down/$0 First Month's Payment/$0 due at signing (39-month term).
* Fusion customers can opt for a 2.9 percent APR for 60 months or $1,000 customer cash.
* Ford Expedition customers can select either $2,000 customer cash or 3.9 percent APR for 60 months.
* Customers can select either $3,000 customer cash or 0 percent APR for 60 months on all 2007 F-150 models (except Harley-Davidson SuperCrew).
* Full details on these offers, including terms and conditions, are available at or at local Ford dealers. The offers run through April 2.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit


Ad Watch: Ford Will Challenge Your Mid-Size To A Duel And Pay Car & Driver To Make It Happen; Ad Watch: Selling Ford Trucks Is A "Dirty Job"; Ad Watch: Ford Gives Chevy Suburban The Finger With New Expedition EL Ads[internal]

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