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The full-size pickup battle between Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. heats up next week, when GM's Chevrolet division launches its redesigned Silverado with up to $100 million in ad support for the 1999 model year.

Ford Division launches ads for its top-selling F-Series on national TV and cable this week, and in page ads in USA Today on Oct. 2.

The trucks are crucial for the auto marketers because the models are their companies' top sellers and represent high profitability.

"We're taking a very competitive, aggressive stance for F-Series," said Janet Klug, marketing communications manager at Ford Division.

A TV spot, which focuses on a hardworking farmer's hands, touts Ford's "heritage of toughness and how people use our trucks and how they fit into their lives," she said.

Country singer Alan Jackson also returns for the third model year. This year, there will be sing-along contests that Ford dealers will stage locally.

J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, handles Ford.


Chevrolet's Silverado is being positioned as "Bigger, faster and smarter" in new ads breaking Oct. 7 via Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich. All three of its launch commercials use freeze-frame technology. The "Like a rock" theme continues.

Ford's F-Series has been the nation's best-selling model, car or truck, for more than 14 years. The pickup is on track to extend its leadership position in 1998, having sold 555,878 units from January through August, according to Automotive News. GM sold 374,179 of its Chevy pickups during the same period.

Ford spent $33.5 million in measured media on the F-Series in the first half of 1998, up 26% from the year-earlier period, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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