Magazine article Marketing

Ford Brings Soft-Sell Technique to TV Slots

Magazine article Marketing

Ford Brings Soft-Sell Technique to TV Slots

Article excerpt

Ford is turning its TV advertising on its head with the launch of a new "soft-sell" strategy -- a concept previously unknown in the UK car market.

The company has taken the unprecedented step of commissioning longtime below-the-line companion Imagination to produce a series of "editorialised" commercials.

In strong contrast to the kind of price and promotion-led ads which have dominated in the recession, the one-minute "Focus on Ford" slots will use presenters to "educate" consumers about general car issues in a "straightforward" manner.

"There are a lot of buzzwords out there, like airbags and ABS breaking, but there is still a lot of vagueness about what these things really mean," says a Ford spokesman. Issues to be discussed in the ads include safety, technology, security and the environment.

Ford says it has "no definite plans" for how long the campaign will run. It broke last weekend and is initially scheduled to run every Saturday and Sunday evening. The spokesman stresses, however, that this is not just a tactic for the August L-plate rush, expected this year to be definitive proof that the industry is well on the way to recovery.

The idea for this strategy comes from Ford's Australia operation, which has been running similar ads for the past 18 months. Ford of Great Britain claims the results have been "extremely positive."

The choice of Imagination, which specialises in design work and staging corporate events, will raise eyebrows among ad agencies, already unnerved by Rover's decision to set up its own "integrated" marketing agency. …

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