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(July 3, 2001) -- Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand touts its tennis ties in two new spots starring John McEnroe that break July 5 during the Wimbledon broadcast on NBC.

WPP Group's Y&R, Irvine, Calif., created a pair of 30-second spots for the limited TV-only effort, which will also air during the Lincoln-sponsored U.S. Open on CBS and cable network USA on Aug. 27 to Sept 9.

In one spot, a player cools off between sets using the climate-controlled seats of the Navigator sport utility vehicle. Mr. McEnroe instructs viewers to "keep a cool head and a dry shirt." In the other, a ball boy speeds onto the court in an LS sedan to retrieve a tennis ball. The tennis great's line in the other spot is "Keep your eye on the ball and your hand on the wheel."

A spokeswoman for Lincoln said the auto marketer is studying an expanded media buy. Lincoln's U.S. Open print ads, which do not include Mr. McEnroe, break later this month.

The brand's sales slipped in the first five months of 2001, to 52,914 vehicles from 66,541 units from the same time a year ago, according to Automotive News. -- Jean Halliday

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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