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Marketer: Ford Motor Co. Agency: JWT, Shanghai, China

Ford uses Focus launch to change its image with Chinese consumers

[Chongqing, China] Ford Motor Co. is playing down its American roots in launching the Focus model in China to enhance the car's appeal to local consumers and help reposition its Fiesta and Mondeo brands there.

The Focus is aimed at urban consumers earning $1,200-$1,400 a month who are brand-conscious, tech-savvy and early-adopters, in other words, Chinese who previously considered Fords too awkward for the country's congested highways.

Ford changed its tagline from "no boundaries" to "make everyday exciting," starting with the Focus launch. Ads by JWT position the Focus as a German-engineered vehicle "with unmistakable European style," said Shanghai-based Danielle Godbier, director in charge at JWT.

In the TV spot, a Focus driver impresses local artists by using the sharp turns of his wheels and spilled cans of bright paint to create a vibrant painting. Ford also created pre-launch Focus buzz with an online-film campaign. Eight young Chinese directors produced three-minute videos around the theme, "Dynamic Ford Focus brings you a progressive life."

New films broke weekly on Ford's Chinese Web site at and in outdoor media via LCD screens.

"We averaged 500,000 page views all summer. It was a good way to generate interest among young, urban professionals, our core potential customers," said Randy Krieger, VP-marketing, sales and service for ChanAn Ford, the U.S. carmaker's joint venture in Chongqing.

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