DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is taking product placement to a new extreme.
Kermit the Frog, the new "spokesfrog" for the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, hosted the Sunday, April 9, episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The regular host of the ABC reality TV show, Ty Pennington, was helping with hurricane relief in the Gulf region.
On the show, Kermit presented the Craft family of Hondo, Texas, with a new Escape Hybrid. The family also got a renovated home.
Ford is pushing its Escape and Escape Hybrid models this spring with promotions such as Kermit's hosting stunt. Kermit made his Ford debut Feb. 5 in a $2 million Super Bowl TV spot for the Escape Hybrid.
Ford is running a series of print ads and TV commercials for the gasoline-powered Escape. The campaign's tag line: "There's a reason it's called the Escape."
Higher incentives have accompanied the new Escape Hybrid advertising, especially in key markets such as Washington, D.C., and California. Sales of the Escape Hybrid have been weaker than expected in some markets such as New York, dealers and other sources have said.
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