Detroit (AdAge.com) -- In a move that will put a smile on the faces of local newspaper publisher, at least for a day, nearly 3,000 of the roughly 3,700 U.S. Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers will run mostly full-page ads in local newspapers this Sunday.
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Unlike traditional ads from individual retailers that push sales, the executions are more corporate in tone. Ford Motor Co. and JWT's Retail First arm, Dearborn, Mich., created eight different templates for the "advertorials" for the dealers to customize with their own local ad agencies, said Kim Cape, retail marketing manager at the automaker.
She said the idea was sparked by a foursome of dealers: Joe Sesi in suburban Detroit; Mark Smith near Kansas City, Mo., and a former chairman of Ford's dealer council marketing committee; Sam Galloway in Fort Myers, Fla.; and Bob Sewell in Texas. Each of those dealers ran their own ads in the first quarter, touting the automaker's progress in quality or that it wasn't taking federal loans. The consumer response, including showroom traffic and phone calls, was so impressive that the dealers took their case to Ford headquarters asking to do more of the same, Ms. Cape said.
The ads carry a variety of messages from Ford celebrating its 106-year anniversary on June 16 to touting affordable, fuel-efficient models to the automaker not accepting government loans.
The move comes as Chrysler eliminated 789 of its dealers a few days ago and General Motors Corp. has plans to slash its 5,969 dealerships to roughly 3,600 by the end of next year.