Ford ad boost less than 25%: Lyons

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Ford Motor Co. will increase ad spending for its Ford division next year although the company denied a report that the unit's budget would double.

Ford Division President Steve Lyons, in an interview with Advertising Age sibling Automotive News, declined to specify the increase but said it will be less than 25%.

That contrasts with an Oct. 14 memo from a Ford executive that reviewed highlights of Ford's recent dealer show in Las Vegas. The memo informed dealers in the Northwest region that the division will "double 2002 advertising expenditures with high focus on TV, newspaper, radio and event presence." Ford's Northwest regional manager, Larry Gregerson, wrote the memo, which was the basis for a story in the Oct. 21 issue of Ad Age.

The memo lists Mr. Lyons' "top 5 priorities," including "increase market share" and "attain profitability." That is followed by a section that lists "tools to assist Ford Division" in reaching those goals. The first item notes that ad outlays will double.

Mr. Gregerson could not be reached for comment, but a Ford spokeswoman said that the memo referred to "a particular vehicle line, not the whole budget." The spokeswoman denied that Ford plans to double its advertising budget, but said marketing spending would increase. Two dealers who attended the Las Vegas show said they were told ad spending would "significantly increase," but that they were not given a specific amount.

network up

Mr. Lyons said Ford would spend more of its increased budget on network TV. "We have increased our spend in the upfront with the networks by two and a half times from where we were," he said. "Because of it, we've had to somewhat diminish our presence in cable and in print."

Ford spent $356 million in measured media in the first half, up 11.2% over the same period last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

contributing: julie cantwell automotive news

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