Ford Motro Spending Less on Newspaper Ads

By Nicholson, Joe | Editor & Publisher, August 7, 1999 | Go to article overview

Ford Motro Spending Less on Newspaper Ads


Nicholson, Joe, Editor & Publisher


Ford Motor cuts back on its newspaper buys Shifting gears, auto giant plans more spending on local promotions and the Internet

Some of the Ford Motor Co.'s advertising cash is being shifted from print to local promotions, such as music and sports events, and the Internet.

The shifts were made "because we are aware there are more options than ever to reach customers," says Carolyn Brown, a Ford spokeswoman. "As the marketplace changes, we need to change the way in which we interact with our customers and potential customers."

This change in strategy comes only a few weeks after the General Motors Corp. reshuffled its media mix to put more money into newspapers, according to a report in the Detroit-based Automotive News.

Ford won't say how much money is being shifted because of the same competitive reasons that lead the company to keep secret its media budget size or mix. Competitive Media Reporting calculates that Ford's advertising spending last year was $943 million.

The bottom line is that auto makers are experimenting with ad budgets to see how they can get the best bang for their buck, according to Edward Lapham, executive editor of Automotive News.

"This isn't the end of the world for newspapers. Ford is pulling some money out of newspapers, but GM is putting money back in. It's ebb and flow," says Lapham.

Ford still buys advertising in newspapers, says Brown, who adds, "Just a few months ago, we ran a campaign in The Wall Street Journal welcoming Volvo to the Ford Motor Co. when we acquired Volvo."

Newspaper ad directors and rep firms need to make convincing pitches to attract advertising, says Brown, who adds Ford is assessing the effectiveness of its advertising in new and traditional media.

"We are interested in any [advertising] opportunities that make sense. As market conditions change, our buy situation could change as well," says Brown.

The decision to advertise in The Wall Street Journal involved a potential benefit for Ford that went beyond selling cars. "The people who read The Wall Street Journal are financial analysts, and they have a lot to say about how our stock is rated," Brown observes.

Ford's agency of record is J. Walter Thompson; Ford corporate advertising is handled by Ogilvy & Mather; and its Lincoln Mercury division uses Young & Rubicam. …

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