Taking a page from Saturn Corp., Ford Division is featuring real-life truck owners in its new magazine ads.
But Ford's truck campaign differs because the company turned to photojournalists to find and shoot the owners using a news style, said Jan Klug, marketing communications manager at the division.
The ads 'are about people who drive the trucks and almost celebrate the human spirit,' Klug said. 'We think an element of humanity comes through.'
The three photojournalists, Joel Sartore, David Alan Harvey and William Albert Allard, have worked for National Geographic and Time. They were given free rein to find, photograph and interview Ford truck owners.
The copy on the ads is from the photographers' notes, said Bruce Rooke, executive creative director at Ford's ad agency, J. Walter Thompson in Detroit. 'No (ad) agency people were out on the shoots.'
Ads showing a slice of life aren't new, said consultant Art Spinella, vice president of CNW Marketing/Research in Bandon, Ore. But, he said, it is 'astounding for an ad agency to turn over the look of a photograph' to someone outside.
Photographer Sartore said all the Ford truck owners he talked to were 'passionate about Ford trucks.' There was one exception, he added, a guy who said he didn't like the exterior paint color he had picked.
In a shift from a past policy of using single-page ads, the division is using only two-page spreads for the truck ads. And for the first time, vehicle specifications are included on long, narrow inserts that accompany all the print ads. Klug said that information is included because the owner profiles don't provide many product details. Each insert also shows four different Ford trucks.
The ads break in November magazines. The media buy includes outdoor enthusiast books such as Boating, Western Life, Ducks Unlimited and Field & Stream, enthusiast books such as Four Wheeler and Hot Rod, plus home magazines such as This Old House and Today's Home Owner.
Rooke hinted TV versions of the print ads may arrive soon. But for now, the TV commercials try to capture the spirit of the print ads showing Ford trucks at work and play with actors posing as owners.
JWT will create four TV commercials. The first breaks Saturday, Oct. 30, during national college football broadcasts. The division's pitchman, actor John Corbett, narrates the first spot. Klug said it attempts to show Ford's entire truck lineup and includes shots of the SuperCrew, a combination F-150/Expedition arriving in January.
Separately, Ford introduced a TV commercial last week for the three-door Focus promoting a contest targeted at young buyers. Ford has teamed up with the WB network's 'Dawson's Creek' TV show and is sponsoring a concert Nov. 13 with singers whose music has been featured on the show. Ford will fly 600 winners to the concert in Wilmington, N.C., where the show is filmed. Winners also are invited to a private party with the artists and the show's actors.
Eight-page print inserts for the promotion break the first week of November in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly magazines. Radio spots for the sweepstakes are in 50 markets on WB affiliate stations.
The Focus and 'Dawson's Creek' promotion continues in November with a watch-and-win promotion.