Ford takes Martha for a $50 mil spin

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Ford Motor Co. has signed a one-year deal with Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia for a multimedia ad package worth an estimated $50 million.

Starting Oct. 1, Ford Division and Lincoln Mercury Co.'s Mercury brand will sponsor the weekly "Good Things" and "Cookie of the Week" segments, respectively, on Ms. Stewart's syndicated TV show. The brands will also get exposure on her radio program and Martha Stewart Living magazine, which lists sponsors of her TV program.


The auto marketer gets auto exclusivity during the TV segments.

The OmniMedia deal will reach Ford's target audience in several different places with compatible messages. The package also is expected to include Ms. Stewart's Web site, but both sides said that part of the deal hasn't been finalized.

"Strategically, Martha Stewart targets women," said Bob Mancini, senior partner-executive director of Ford Motor Media, Ford's dedicated buying unit and subsidiary of J. Walter Thompson Co., Detroit, "and this represents a great opportunity to market to that audience.

"By having this type of association, it establishes a presence in a programming environment that has a franchised theme, which is easier for people to remember," said Mr. Mancini. An added attraction: Ford doesn't have to worry about programming content, he added.

Another benefit of the partnership, Mr. Mancini explained, is "our ability to serve two objectives--the best interest of the individual brands and ... the interests of Ford Motor Co."

Suzanne Sobel, publisher and senior VP-advertising sales at OmniMedia, said this is the first year the company has had the opportunity for radio and the Web. "So we are now truly multimedia," she said. "As we grow, the size of our sponsorships will increase."


Ms. Sobel described the audience for Ms. Stewart's media properties as upscale, educated, intelligent women who are looking for information and who want to be empowered.

"When we sat down with Ford Motor Co., we felt they were looking to reach women who wanted to be empowered and wanted quality products," she said.

The OmniMedia buy comes on the heels of Ford's multimedia ad deal with News Corp., starting this fall on its network, cable TV and Internet properties.

This was "another consolidated buying opportunity for our brands," said David Ropes, director of corporate advertising and integrated marketing at Ford.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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