Ford Motor Co. is using more nontraditional advertising to sell the redesigned 2000 Taurus.
When Ford Division redesigned the sedan for the 1996 model year, the Taurus was the focus of a $110 million advertising blitz. This time the plan includes displays at nearly 150 shopping malls, a motorsports sweepstakes tied to NASCAR sponsorships, a custom magazine and a second sweepstakes tied to college football.
Rick Crossland, Taurus brand manager at Ford Division, would not reveal the budget. Ford spent $81.7 million in measured media for the Taurus in 1998 and $36.8 million in the first half of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Ford is combining traditional media and promotions for a Taurus giveaway. It will challenge channel surfers watching college football bowl games on ABC.
During the four ABC games from Jan. 1 through Jan. 4, the automaker will give away a sedan for every touchdown scored. The catch: Consumers who register for the sweepstakes must watch at least one of two TV commercials running in the same quarter of a game. To win the cars, participants will need to know which game signal a digital football referee gives during the spot.
At the end of each game, Ford will phone entrants randomly to ask for the signal given. Crossland expects about 500,000 participants.
'Football skews very well, about 50-50 with men and women, so it's a great way to build awareness for Taurus,' he said.
Entry registration is either through a toll-free number or on the Internet at bcsdrive.espn.com. Information about the promotion also will be available at 140 malls owned by developer Simon Property Group. Ford signed a deal with Simon for Taurus displays from late November through January.
The traditional media blitz kicks off New Year's Day, anchored by a 60-second spot from J. Walter Thompson USA of Detroit with brand spokesman John Corbett.
The Taurus will be advertised under the theme 'What if,' touting technical advancements that improve safety.
National print will appear in January, along with outdoor advertising in the top 20 markets, which generate 52 percent of Taurus sales. Banners will be used on Web portals, including Yahoo! and Excite.
A custom-published Road & Track from Hachette Filipacchi Magazines will feature the Taurus; 3.2 million copies will be distributed.
About 550,000 subscribers to Road & Track and Car and Driver will get the 44-page custom book along with their January issues.