The October issues of Maxim, Stuff and Blender feature the Ford Focus in a special version of "Beat This Caption," a monthly editorial contest in Maxim.
The contest challenges readers to write a better photo caption than the one in the magazine.
The magazines label the Ford contest an advertisement, although it mimics the format of the editorial version.
Maxim, Blender and Stuff are published by Dennis Publishing Inc.
Neither Ford nor Dennis would reveal how much the automaker spends to advertise in the magazines.
Ford invites readers' photo captions that promote the Focus.
The Maxim contest photo shows a runway model approaching a Focus. The caption, which appears to reflect the car's thoughts, reads: "She's got great legs, but does she have a performance-tuned suspension?"
A full-page ad for the Focus runs on the opposite page.
Maxim, Stuff and Blender editors will choose the top 10 entries, but Ford will select the three contest winners. The winners will get trips to invitation-only parties hosted by the magazines.
"Ford wanted us to put a personality to the Ford Focus," says Tim Baldwin, Detroit advertising manager of Maxim. "The best way we found to do that was using our magazines and how our magazines interact with our reader."
Ford says it seeks to integrate its vehicles with editorial content in the magazines in which it advertises.
"We do a very good job of doing product placement in TV shows like 'American Idol,' 'Alias' and new ones coming this fall," says Michelle Erwin, Ford Division car communications manager. "We've challenged the magazine reps to develop similar types of programs and ideas."
The automaker paid for the online portion of the contest on the magazines' Web sites. Within five days of the start of the online contest in mid-September, 2,054 people had entered on Maxim's Web site, Baldwin says.
This level of participation is comparable to other Maxim contests, he says. The magazines are accepting entries in the Ford caption contest through mid-October.
One reader's contest entry: "She may be tall and sleek, but I'm compact and curvaceous."
You may e-mail Gail Kachadourian at [email protected]