Advertising Age, a sister publication of Automotive News, says Ford was the best marketer among all automakers this year and gave some examples of why the company won the paper's Marketer of the Year award:
-- The "Swap Your Ride" ad campaign, in which Honda and Toyota owners test drive Fords.
-- The "Fiesta Movement" promotion, which lent out the car long before launch to young bloggers savvy about social media.
-- The decision to launch the 2011 Explorer crossover on Facebook.
-- Ford's TV spots for the F-150 pickup. The paper said the commercials, which feature actor Denis Leary's acerbic voice-over, "went against everything one is used to seeing in an ad for a pickup."
But Ford's niftiest marketing move may have been turning down a bailout from the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2009.
Asked how much declining TARP funds was worth, Ford marketing chief Jim Farley ventured: "more than $1 billion of coverage and customer interest."
Farley told Ad Age: "If I had to go out and advertise, it would be that kind of bill in paid media. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."