Retired Autoworkers Clarify 'Made in America' Slogan

Level Field Institute Campaign Attacks Foreign Manufacturers' Claims

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- As Americans continue to buy cars from Asian transplants, a new group is launching an ad campaign aimed at getting the U.S. population to return to domestic makes.
A TV spot encourages Americans to buy from the Big Three automakers
A TV spot encourages Americans to buy from the Big Three automakers

A $1 million buy
In a TV spot, the organization, known as Level Field Institute, explains that its campaign aims to tell "the truth about foreign automakers' made-in-America ad claims." The $1 million print and broadcast buy, which the group says was funded by retired employees, will look to sway car buyers in Detroit, Washington and other major cities.

A spokesman for the group said money for the campaign came from "a number of corporate and individual funders," but he declined to say if the United Auto Workers or the Big Three U.S. automakers were among them.

"Our goal is to raise awareness about why 'Made in America' still matters to our economy and our future competitiveness," said Jim Doyle, president of Level Field Institute.

Agency also handled Ford creative
The ads were created by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, one of Washington's big Democratic ad firms, which also handled Ford Motor Co.'s ad push in January. That campaign spoke of Ford's commitment to "retake the American roadway." Those "Rebirth" ads began just after Ford announced 14 plant closings and 30,000 layoffs.

Implicit in the Level Field spot is a warning that retirees, who have already seen benefit cutbacks, could be more dramatically affected by declining revenues at Ford, General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler.

"It seems like every automaker these days claims their cars are made in America," the TV ad explains. "But the truth is U.S. automakers still employ 8 of 10 auto workers. ... Four-hundred-thousand American workers that help support about 4 million other jobs. That's why the retiree supporters of Ford, GM and Chrysler encourage you to visit our Web site and see how what you drive drives America."
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