Advertising for the redesigned Ford F-150 pickup will hit airwaves and other channels in late summer, marking the priciest marketing campaign ever for Ford Division.
Commercials and print ads will begin in late August or early September, Ford Division President Steve Lyons says.
The redesigned pickup is expected to show up at dealerships about that time, after its early June production start.
Executives are selecting advertising themes from five possibilities developed by J. Walter Thompson in Detroit. The campaign is expected to cost more than $100 million and run through spring 2004.
"It's going to be the biggest launch in our history," Lyons says.
Ford will advertise the 2004 F-150 heavily during football broadcasts. Ads will include a new song written by country music star and Ford truck pitchman Toby Keith. The "Built Ford Tough" theme will remain part of the campaign.
The campaign has two prongs, targeting loyal F-150 owners plus customers who drive competing pickups or who may have left that segment for SUVs or other alternatives, says Gene Brown, Ford truck marketing manager.
The average pickup customer is a male in his upper 40s with an annual income of about $70,000. But with its huge pickup customer base and five models of the redesigned truck, from work truck to the near-luxury Lariat version, Ford expects plenty of variation from that profile.
In addition to traditional media, the launch will include Web marketing and relationship marketing with Ford's large F-150 owner base.