DETROIT -- If it seems you can't turn on your favorite TV show these days without seeing Ford Division vehicles - in the programs themselves, not just the commercials - that's no accident.
Ford is integrating its cars and trucks in the content of several top-rated shows on cable and broadcast networks. The shows include "American Idol" on Fox, "Extreme Makeover" on ABC, "Total Request Live" on MTV, "Sabado Gigante" on Univision, the syndicated "Dr. Phil" show and programs on the cable Gospel Music Network.
Past product placements helped boost weekly traffic on Ford's Web site by as much as 50 percent, Ford marketing officials say.
"When we connect emotionally through relevant content with the consumer, they're more interested in our brand," says Michelle Erwin, Ford Division's car marketing communications manager. "They remember the key messages better."
Erwin would not say what Ford is spending on its product placement blitz. General Motors spent millions of dollars in the past year to place Pontiac vehicles on single episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Apprentice."