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News of  February 14, 2001

Ford Focus: An Unusual Marketing Campaign for an Unusual Car 

Ford Focus

Photo: Ford

DEARBORN, Mich. - The Ford Focus first hit U.S. dealerships in October 1999 and quickly became one of the ten best selling cars in America.  Focus is targeted to the highly influential Gen X (20-35 years old, 25 million) and Echo Boomer market (19 and under, 80 million). Ford has developed a marketing and advertising campaign to capture the attention of the youth generation.

In order to understand the youth market, Ford executives immersed themselves into the youth culture in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami by going to clubs, fashion stores and restaurants. Through special focus groups and these executive visits, Ford learned that Echo Boomers and Gen Xers are sophisticated and independent. These young people are passionately interested in music, fashion, fun and the Internet. Realizing the need to develop fresh new approaches to marketing and advertising, Ford created a campaign for the Focus that incorporated these core interests of the youth market while fitting into their "24/7" fast-paced lifestyle.

Highlights of the Ford Focus marketing campaign include:

September 1999 -- Focus is introduced to the U.S. market with a live television commercial advertising campaign during the MTV Video Music Awards. It is the biggest live commercial campaign since the '50s.

September 1999 -- The Ford Focus is the exclusive automotive co-sponsor for Ricky Martin's Livin La Vida Loca North American tour.

October 1999 - March 2000 -- More than 50 influential young individuals including celebrity assistants, radio deejays and models get Ford Focus vehicles to drive around in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.

November 1999 -- Ford Focus develops a strategic partnership with the popular WB Network show "Dawson's Creek" which features a private live concert event.  The show and Ford held a national sweepstakes, where 600 loyal fans attend a private concert to meet the show's cast and hear songs from the series performed live by Paula Cole, Tal Bachman, Shawn Mullins and Wood.

December 1999 -- The Focus is featured in two "Dawson's Creek" episodes and is given away to viewers through a special "Watch and Win" contest.  In addition, a Focus signed by the cast is auctioned on .

November/December 1999 -- Ford Focus signs an exclusive agreement with Loews Cineplex Entertainment to create the largest in-theater promotional partnership ever for the theater chain and automaker.  The two-year agreement allows Ford to utilize more than 272 theaters nationwide to promote the Focus.

January 2000 -- A limited edition Sony Ford Focus, which features the Xplod sound system, is launched during the Consumer Electronics Show.

March 2000 -- An interactive Internet component is added to the live Focus television commercials.  Viewers go to web site to determine various scenarios that will take place live during the commercials.  This is the first truly interactive live television campaign.

March 2000 -- Ford Focus sponsors College Movie Premieres, where students at 39 campuses get the opportunity to view a major motion picture prior to its release.

May 2000 -- A Kona Mountain Bike Edition Ford Focus hits dealerships nationwide featuring an "Out Of Bounds" Kona bike.  The limited edition came with a bolt-on bike rack, nylon washable seat covers and a unique color -- dirt.

Summer 2000 -- Ford Focus sponsors "Hoop It Up," the largest street basketball tour in the United States.

September 2000 -- A special Street Edition Ford Focus is launched, sporting an edgy look with a 6-disc CD changer and European suspension.

October 2000 -- Ford launches a special advertising campaign featuring Detroit Techno music.

December 2000 -- Ford sponsors the Billboard Music Awards and has major music stars sign a Ford Focus to give to a charity.

January 2001 -- Ford partners with Atom Films and J. Walter Thompson (Detroit) to create short films featuring the Ford Focus.  Films are shown at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and on Atom Films' web site.

February 11, 2001 -- "Fashion in Focus" event, in partnership with the Integrated Marketing Group of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, during Fashion Week, showcases 10 new edge designers who developed fashions utilizing Ford Focus parts.  The Fashion in Focus designers are showcased in a 12-page spread in the March issues of Elle and Premiere magazines.  Focus is the only car to win the two most prestigious automotive awards, the North American Car of the Year and the European Car of the Year.

(Feb. 11, 2001)


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