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Ford uses football to draw buyers

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Ford Motor Co. will use football and the Web to try to convince a new set of consumers that the Taurus is not the stodgy car they remember.

Ads for the re-engineered and restyled 2010 Taurus begin next week. Ford began shipping the cars to dealerships last week.

"Part of the effort is to say we're not just a truck and Mustang company," said Matt VanDyke, Ford's U.S. marketing communications director, at a press event today for the Taurus campaign. "We have cars and crossovers that we need to be known for."

To that end, Taurus ads will have a high profile on sports broadcasts such as the National Football League games -- a platform Ford previously used almost exclusively for trucks. Ford's target customer for the 2010 Taurus is a 46-year-old man who wants the latest innovations at a value.

The Taurus campaign also will have a higher percentage of Internet and digital advertising and event marketing than any other launch Ford has done -- about 35 percent of the budget vs. less than 30 percent for other campaigns, VanDyke said.

Commercials will focus on the Taurus's technology offerings, such as a blind-spot warning system and the twin-turbocharged, 365-hp 3.5-liter engine in the SHO performance model. A series of Web videos pits specific features of the Taurus against rivals from luxury brands such as Lexus and Audi.

But, VanDyke said, "we're not positioning it as a luxury car." The target audience for Taurus still wants a good value. "Conspicuous consumption isn't something that's in right now."

By Amy Wilson- Automotive News