On May 18, Mercury will begin the broadcast TV portion of its estimated $70 million marketing push for the new Cougar coupe.
Mercury will use Fox exclusively for the network portion of the campaign.
'We talked to all the networks, and Fox really nailed it with their audience,' said Ian Beavis, Lincoln Mercury marketing communications manager.
Mercury is thinking younger with the new Cougar, with a key target of 25-to-39-year-olds. Overall, Mercury is trying to woo younger buyers and update its image to appeal to individualists with the new positioning of 'fun, flair and flexibility.'
The expected $40 million media budget for the Cougar this year is a huge increase over 1997, when the old model garnered less than
$1 million in support, according to Competitive Media Reporting, which monitors ad spending.
The network portion is only a small part of the integrated marketing and ad push for the Cougar.
'PLANET OF WONDERS'
A bigger chunk of the budget will go into print and cable, he added, including a deal with Discovery Communications.
This week, Mercury kicks off an exclusive, multiyear sponsorship of Discovery Online's 'Mercury Planet of Wonders,' a new Web site area (www.discovery.com) initially tied to the Cougar launch and then other Mercury models. Scientists will report this year on nature topics from four countries.
It is the Discovery site's first multiyear deal. The online program will be promoted on cable's Discovery Channel; Mercury (www.mercury.com) and Discovery also will promote it with banners on their Web sites. When the cable channel produces TV programming from the expeditions, Mercury will participate, Beavis said.
Y&R Advertising in Detroit created four humorous, national TV spots that keep the 'Imagine TV' channel-surfing format introduced in last fall's Mercury brand campaign.
THE LIGHTER TOUCH
Each commercial has several short vignettes. Two vignettes use actor R. Lee Ermey in the drill-instructor role he portrayed in a Coors Light commercial and in the film Full Metal Jacket.
In one vignette, he wants to know 'which clown' drove his Cougar. As the camera pans the soldiers, a guy in a clown outfit is among them. In another vignette, a black and white spoof of an old jungle movie shows a native warning explorers about a real cougar cat, but they think he is referring to the car parked nearby.
New cable channels on the media schedule include Comedy Central.
Print ads, which started trickling out in March issues of several magazines, get a major push in May and run through September. New titles for the brand's ad schedule include Maxim.