Scatter Market: Ford goes on TV spree

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Ford Motor Co. is going on a two-month, $75 million TV spending spree, according to TV sales executives familiar with its plans. The move will boost a lackluster TV ad market, but not all TV outlets are in a strong position to sell.

Ford will spread money around its car divisions and spend it on programming running in March and April, the executives said. Others said the money could help pay for a major corporate branding effort.

The move will bring Ford back to normal TV spending levels. During last May's TV upfronts-when major advertisers spend about 70% of their annual TV budgets on the coming season-Ford purchased 30% less TV time on TV networks than it did the year before.

Jan Klug, Ford's VP-global marketing, could not be reached for comment at press time.

Ford's money is good news for the national TV scatter market, where advertisers make short-term TV buys. The market has tightened, partly because some networks, notably News Corp.'s Fox and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, have had to use inventory to run make-good ads after not hitting ratings guarantees. Still, overall program pricing has been weak.

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