Ford Turns to Oscar Winner for New Song

Randy Newman Lyrics Introduce New Tagline

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DETROIT ( -- Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division turned to Oscar-winning tunesmith Randy Newman to compose an original song about the automaker's best-selling brand.

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The 30- and 60-second commercials, breaking nationally on the show Alias on Jan. 26 after the Super Bowl on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, introduce Ford's new umbrella advertising tagline "If you haven't looked at a Ford lately, look again." The line shows up in Mr. Newman's song.

A prolific singer-songwriter, Mr. Newman, who won an Oscar for his song from the movie Monster's Inc. and who wrote "I Love to See You Smile" from Parenthood, can be heard singing his song in the ads. Other lyrics from the new tune include: "It's no mistake when the choice you make leads you right to your own backyard ... Some folks have remembered what others have forgotten. It's right there in front of your eyes my friend. If you haven't looked at Ford lately, look again."

Making a statement
The new tagline "is a contemporary" version of one of the division's past themes, "Have you driven a Ford lately," said Rich Stoddart, marketing communications manager at Ford. But the new copyline "makes a statement instead of an open-ended question."

The campaign replaces the current "No Boundaries" tagline, which Ford debuted in the fall of 1999 for Ford's sport utility vehicle line. Ford's current regional spots, which began airing nationally Jan. 1 and use the Rolling Stones song "Start Me Up," was intended as a short-term retail effort.

The music-themed push comes on the heels of DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group's new campaign to reposition the car brand that features Canadian pop star Celine Dion, who appears and sings in several black-and-white ads from Omnicom Group's BBDO Detroit, Troy, Mich., and sibling Arnell Group, New York.

News ads planned
The first two TV commercials, which were created by WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, show Ford's full lineup, will run throughout the first quarter of 2003. Current spots for the Taurus, Focus, Explorer, F-Series and Expedition will add the new tagline until JWT creates new commercials for the individual vehicle lines that will break in the second quarter.

A four-page print execution starts Feb. 3 in several national titles, including People, Sports Illustrated, Time and Newsweek. The print ads will also contain the line "It's right there in front of your eyes" from Mr. Newman's original song.

Ford declined to discuss spending, but the brand spent $675 million in measured media in the first 10 months of 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

F-Series still a winner
Ford announced a few weeks ago it sold 2.997 million vehicles last year in the U.S., a 9.3% drop from 2001. But its F-Series pickup line was the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., car or truck, for the 21st consecutive year. Ford said it sold 813,701 F-Series models last year.

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