Ford buys out ballet in Mexico to promote Continental

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MEXICO CITY -- Ford introduced its Lincoln Continental luxury car to Mexico's elite by buying the premier performance of the Ballet de l'Opera National de Lyon held in the ornate auditorium Palacio de Bellas Artes and inviting 1,200 VIPs from diplomacy, government and business.

The "gala" presentation targeted the very market Ford hopes to reach with the imported Continentals, says Guillermina Pilgram, public relations director for Ford.

Two hundred of the cars arrived the afternoon of the performance, all of them pre-sold. Philippe Meillier, CEO of Ford in Mexico, says he expects the company will sell 400 Lincoln Continentals a year in Mexico - 15% of themarket segment.

The strategy will involve selective marketing. Ford will advertise in magazines and newspapers, but not on television. Meillier says that probably only Mexico's bigger cities - Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey - will be targeted.

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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