Though the percentage of pickup owners who use trucks in their work has dipped from 70% to 50% in the past 15 years, Ford will keep its imagery focused on its "workhorse" customers, said Al Giombetti, Ford's truck brand manager.
"As the truck segment has grown, it has certainly grown in the personal [use] segment, but the 'workhorse' remains our core customer," Mr. Giombetti said.
And suburbanites who may use a pickup to haul gardening supplies or the occasional antique respond well to the imagery, he noted.
"They look at that 'workhorse' and relate it back to toughness and reliability," Mr. Giombetti said.
Ford breaks its TV spots Oct. 30 during college football and will run heavily in what a spokeswoman called "our tough-guys target -- a lot of NFL football and a lot of sports programming."
J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, handles.
A 60-second umbrella spot shows a series of shots of workers saying: "Welcome to Ford Country. When you call this place your home, you live in the land of the indestructible."
Print ads break in November issues of truck-buff, outdoor and do-it-yourself home improvement magazines.
Bruce Rooke, JWT exec VP-executive creative director, said photographers were given freedom to shoot what they wanted and that no agency or Ford personnel accompanied them.
Resulting ads show a fishing resort owner in Walker, Minn.; a dirt-track auto racing fan who built his own grandstand in the bed of his truck in Osterburg, Pa.; and a roofing contractor repairing hurricane damage in North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Mr. Rooke said Ford is likely to extend the approach to TV, using documentary filmmakers.
The new ads will run throughout the model year, although Ford will debut new ads for its four-door Super Crew F-150 when it goes on sale in January, Mr. Giombetti said.
Country singer Alan Jackson will continue to appear in other Ford TV spots.
Ford wouldn't reveal spending but said through a spokesman that it would be "at very competitive levels."
Ford spent $118.2 million in measured media on its pickups in 1998, according to