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By Published on .

Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division is in negotiations with a newsstand full of magazines for buys starting in the fourth quarter, as the carmaker pursues its strategy of more aggressively targeting women.

Women buy about 65% of all cars industrywide, said Ford Division General Manager Ross Roberts, and the marketer is now talking to more than 20 magazines about buys that would support 1998 model year vehicles.

Mr. Roberts said early this year that reaching more women was one of his division's four goals in calender 1997. He told Advertising Age last month the division has skewed its media buys since the start of 1997 from 60% targeted to males to 60% to women, and that continues this fall.


Ford Division, which spent $877 million in 1996 in all measured media, will increase its exposure in women's magazines starting in the fourth quarter, said Gerry Donnelly, advertising manager.

Mr. Donnelly said he expects to finalize deals with magazines in about three weeks. Ford is in negotiations with 19 titles the carmaker did business with this model year, plus other, unnamed magazines.

"We'll increase our pages in women's magazines," he said. "Conde Nast has a lot of women's books, and we'll probably increase our exposure with Conde Nast."

Conde Nast Publications' women's titles are also getting good news from Volvo Cars of North America. The importer of Swedish cars has targeted women in six of the 25 books it is considering buying this fall, including Conde Nast Sports for Women and Vanity Fair. The move marks the marketer's return to magazines after a hiatus of several years.

The magazines will help Volvo reach sport-utility intenders with active lifestyles for launches of its V70 all-wheel-drive station wagon, the V70R high-performance version and the V70XC, said Fred Hammond, Volvo corporate communications director.


Volvo is "coming back in a big way in the fall, with a multititle, high double-digit [ad page] schedule," said Catherine Viscardi Johnston, senior VP-group sales and marketing at Conde Nast.

Ms. Johnston added: "The last three years have been lively and productive with all three of the big [U.S.] automakers. We've seen pages grow dramatically . . . General Motors was the first to recognize the women's market, and began aligning with the fashion market and with issues that were important to women. But since then, Ford and Chrysler have been coming at it in their own significant way."

Ford ran 190 pages with Conde Nast titles in 1996, a 50% increase in three years, Ms. Johnston said, adding, "In '97 and '98, we are expecting to see that grow another 10% if not more."


At Ford, magazine negotiations are being handled by the carmaker and J. Walter Thompson USA's new subsidiary, Ford Motor Media, Detroit. Ford Division expects to see "some real savings" in its print and broadcast buys by using the dedicated buying unit, Mr. Donnelly said.

Contributing: Ann Marie Kerwin

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