Ford dyes corporate theme green

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Ford Motor Co.'s entire 2000 corporate ad campaign will spotlight its environmental initiatives.

The push cranks up April 19 in a $10 million-plus buy backing Ford's status as exclusive advertiser in Time's first global special issue, which will honor Earth Day's 30th anniversary.

The issue is an extension of Ford's fall 1997 deal to be the exclusive advertiser in quarterly editorial inserts developed by Time to honor environmental "Heroes of the Planet."

Protecting the environment is a key tenet of Ford Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. The auto marketer's top executive has said that concern is in keeping with his great-grandfather, company founder Henry Ford, who used soybean products and wheat gluten for parts in the Model T.

AUTOMAKERS MUST RESPOND

Ford unveiled its new related Web site, Envirodrive, this year. Another site (ford.com/heroes) starts up April 17. "To be successful in the 21st century, automakers must respond to environmental concerns to make it easier for people to say `I'm an environmentalist and an auto enthusiast,' " said Michelle Cervantez, trustmark marketing manager at Ford.

Ogilvy & Mather, New York and Dearborn, Mich., created 18 print ads for Ford's 36 pages of ads in Time's special expected 100-page edition. The ads, mostly spreads, were shot over three weeks in 11 countries on four continents.

"From an advertising perspective, we fully laid out Ford's environmental perspective," said Richard Bonner-Davis, worldwide management supervisor on the account at Ogilvy.

He explained the single topics covered in each execution: shredded old blue jeans used to soundproof engine hoods; recycled plastic bottle caps for air conditioning ducts; how alternative-fuel taxicabs keep Manhattan's air cleaner; and how Ford has planted more than 3 million trees in Mexico after a huge forest fire. Ogilvy's TV effort bows in mid-April.

To reach younger consumers, a Time for Kids insert comes with the special edition. Ford is sponsoring an invitation-only concert in San Francisco April 15. Ford will fly in prior "Heroes of the Planet" from all over the world and invite about 200 "Kid Heroes" and their guardians, said John Nens, events producer at Ford.

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