Ford Focus gets clubby with young buyers

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The Ford Focus is going techno.

The estimated $45 million ad campaign for the 2001 model of Ford Motor Co.'s popular small car is tied to Detroit techno music. The music fits with the car's youthful target, said Bob Fesmire, brand manager. "Techno is really underground music that's well-known around the world," he said.

Mr. Fesmire said J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, is preparing to shoot a TV commercial in California for the Focus with no people and no narrator. It is due to break in November on national broadcast and cable networks and will run in movie theaters in December.

The TV execution will show the Focus being made at a high-tech plant with a techno mixing board morphing into the car's CD audio system. A single print ad will also break in November magazines including Teen People, Yahoo! and Seventeen. The ad is coupled with an insert for a sweepstakes offering trips to the Billboard Music Awards Dec. 5 in Las Vegas.


Focus, launched in September 1999, received $43 million in measured media last year, and $48 million in spending during the first half of 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Ford sold 225,239 of the cars in the first 10 months of 2000, according to Automotive News. Almost half Focus buyers are 35 years old or younger, Ford said.

Techno music is made by DJs mixing various songs with heavy bass and rare vocals, said David Morrison, president of consultancy Twenty Something. "It's the quintessential club music."

The listening audience is in their 20s, and in many cases in their late teens, so Ford may be using music that skews younger than its target, he said. "The only landmine is you pick a genre of music that's too exclusive that it could alienate young adults or skews too young and confuses the target market."

Consumers in their 30s generally stop keeping track of new music, so Detroit techno may not appeal to them, Mr. Morrison said. But, he added, it's easier to aim young and still appeal to older consumers. "Clublike music is cool and may make a 35-year-old feel young, especially if he's married."M

Talks are also under way for Focus to partner with an undisclosed fashion show in New York.

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