A new ad for Ford Motor Co., for which Mr. Jackson is an endorser? Nope. The brand-filled action takes place during the music video for the singer's new single, "Who's Cheatin' Who."
Ford Trucks signed a multimillion-dollar, multiyear contract with Mr. Jackson in January that calls for Ford to be the only carmaker the singer can pitch. Ford agency J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, has taken a very active role in the partnership.
SUBBING FORD LYRICS
JWT, for example, convinced Mr. Jackson to change the words of another song, his "Crazy 'bout a Mercury"-also a Ford product-to "Crazy 'bout a Ford Truck" for a TV spot currently on the air, said Paul Morel, F-series brand manager at Ford.
JWT will produce a second spot with the singer in the coming months.
The Ford Nascar-themed music video was Mr. Jackson's idea, said his agent, Chip Paey in Nashville. Mr. Paey said he's not concerned about overexposing his client with Ford products in the music video because "his fans love to see him in real-life, fun, energetic situations."
JWT also got involved in the music video. The agency acted as liaison for Ford and coordinated Ford's Nascar drivers, said JWT's Dan Hogan, senior partner, group brand director on F-Series. JWT also worked with local Ford dealers, who are now hawking Jackson-Ford merchandise, including T-shirts and baseball caps that say "Crazy 'bout a Ford Truck."
Ford dealers order the merchandise through JWT, which has at least one staffer handling the flow, Mr. Hogan said, adding, "It's just another level of integration."
VIDEO IN COUNTRY MUSIC CLUBS
The Nashville office of Arista Records has distributed an extended dance version of the "Who's Cheatin' Who" video to about 100 country-western clubs across the U.S. Arista held contests at the clubs the weekend of May 9, giving away the Ford-Jackson merchandise. JWT handled merchandise logistics.
Ford's Mr. Morel said research shows two-thirds of F-Series buyers listen to country music in any given week. "We were under-represented in country music" before the deal with Mr. Jackson, he said.
The TV ad with the singer "plays very strongly with our audience," Mr. Morel said. "The response from the markets has been tremendous."