Multicultural Marketing: Ford's 'Boundaries' extend to Hispanics

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Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division launches the tag "Accomplishment Without Boundaries" in a Hispanic ad campaign breaking today on national Spanish-language TV networks.

The push reflects the general-market "No boundaries" tag that Ford expanded earlier this year from sport-utility ads to all vehicles and the brand in TV spots. The general-market campaign, handled by WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, features Chairman William Clay Ford Jr.

The "Superacion sin fronteras" theme from Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., also plays off Ford's long-standing "Espiritu de superacion" ("spirit of accomplishment") theme. The marketer didn't want to completely dump the former tagline, since research showed it had awareness with nearly 75% of Hispanics, who also knew the line was Ford's, said Richard Stoddart, marketing-communications manager at the division. Instead, he said, "We wanted to tie the two together."

Mr. Stoddart declined to reveal spending for the push other than to say "it's a big effort."

In earlier Ford Spanish-language campaigns, each ad's creative was "very individual by product." Each of the three :30s have a similar look and feel; the three print spreads also have a similar appearance. "This is a campaign," Mr. Stoddart said. "I'm a big believer in one big idea you can take to customers and communicate."

The TV portion of the media buy includes 17 spot markets. The campaign will run through 2002 and possibly into 2003. Print breaks in June.

The slice-of-life spots use music, a bit of narration and show "fantasies of what could be," Mr. Stoddart said.

The F-150 spot shows a father capturing a falling star for his daughter in the pickup's bed. The music used is a rendition of Spanish singer Rosario's "La Estrella" ("The Star"). The other spots use original music. A couple in a 260-horsepower Mustang GT convertible outrun a rainstorm for fun. A family of four capture and release fireflies in the woods from their Explorer sport utility.

Ford has increased sales to Hispanics, Mr. Stoddart said, but he declined to quantify market share.

In calendar 2001, 14.6% of the brand's vehicle sales were to Hispanic consumers, vs. 14.3% in 2000, according to auto consultancy CNW Marketing/Research. Ford sold 3.2 million vehicles in 2001 vs. 3.4 million in 2000, according to Ad Age sibling Automotive News. The division sold 944,732 vehicles in the first four months of 2002 vs. 1.05 million the same period a year ago, Automotive News said.

dealership roles

Nissan North America's Nissan Division had the highest percentage among all auto brands among Hispanics, with 17.7% of Nissan's total sales last year going to Hispanics, CNW reported. Art Spinella, a VP at CNW, said Nissan pricing and dealership locations played a role. The Nissan brand sold 631,943 vehicles last year vs. 673,737 in 2000, according to Automotive News.

Jorge Koechlin, publisher of Automundo, a Spanish-language car magazine, said Ford Division was the first auto brand to advertise to Hispanics in Spanish, beginning in 1982. Mr. Koechlin also praised Ford's "Salute to Education" program, which offers scholarships to Hispanics.

Ford Motor Co. is in the midst of a revitalization plan to return it to profitability. The automaker lost $5 billion globally last year.

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