Ford Motor Co. will spend up to 10 percent more on advertising in 2004 to tout the introduction of several new or redesigned vehicles, Ford marketing chief Jim O'Connor said.
The ad budget was hiked to introduce products such as the new Ford GT sports car, the redesigned 2005 Ford Mustang, the new 2005 Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans and the 2005 Mercury Mariner and Ford Freestyle sport wagons. Most of those products roll into showrooms in the second half of the year.
"Clearly the advertising news this particular year is launches," said O'Connor, Ford group vice president of North America marketing, sales and service.
In 2003, Ford spent heavily to introduce the 2004 F-150 pickup. Even though the 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans debuted last fall, the company limited initial advertising. New campaigns will begin in February to build up to the spring selling season for minivans.
Ford Motor spent $1.3 billion on measured media in 2002.
O'Connor wouldn't disclose the dollar amount Ford is budgeting for 2004. But the money will be spent on a mix of TV, print, billboards, radio, direct mail and nontraditional media. Each launch will include various mediums.
"We're much more involved on the Internet," O'Connor said.
But TV remains key. A commercial for the Ford GT will debut during today's Super Bowl broadcast billing the sports car as the "pace car" of the company. New national TV commercials for Lincoln also will debut this week (see story on Page 34).
Even as Ford increases its ad spending, it is pursuing other initiatives to trim advertising costs.
Said O'Connor: "You'll see a continuous message, and we'll have a lot of reusability of the same shots, so our photography costs get spread over a broader amortization."