Ford Motor Co. touts the technology offerings on its 2012 Focus with the launch of a global advertising campaign.
The campaign marks the first time Ford has taken a global approach to marketing one of its vehicles, the automaker said today. The Focus and 14 of its technology innovations will be featured in 50 commercials tailored to markets where the vehicle will be sold.
"One out of every four vehicles sold worldwide is from the C segment," Jim Farley, group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said in a statement.
"Ford is creating new ways to cut through the clutter and win consumers' attention with information they care about most -- technology that improves their lives."
Farley said Ford needed a quick, engaging way to talk about the new features. The automaker turned to TV spots that will run 15 seconds in North America and 20 seconds in Europe.
The commercials will tout amenities such as rain-sensor wipers, parallel-parking assist, a rearview camera, Wi-Fi access, Sync and MyFord Touch technology. A new four-cylinder, direct-injection engine that Ford estimates will be rated at up to 40 mpg highway also will get attention.
Many of these features are not offered on other vehicles in the compact car segment, Ford said.
Ford's ad agency of record, WPP, created the campaign, which begins March 1 in the United States during the "American Idol" TV show on Fox. The spots then roll out across Europe during the following weeks. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will follow in the second half of the year, Ford said.
The redesigned Focus will compete with popular compacts such as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra. It is wider, longer and slightly lower than the previous Focus. It has a standard five-speed manual transmission and a torque vectoring control system. The system uses the brakes to imitate the effect of a limited slip differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque between the front wheels during cornering. The result is improved road grip and sharper steering, Ford said.
Social media strategy
Ford already is using social media to advertise the Focus. The automaker started its Focus Rally campaign Feb. 4. The rally is a six-team, five-week road race across the United States, with challenges along the way. Viewers can follow the race online and offer suggestions to help the teams.
Ford has said it wants to market the Focus to younger buyers, but it also expects some baby boomers to move down from mid-sized cars and SUVs because of the Focus' technology, better fuel economy and lower price tag.
The Focus, built at Ford's Michigan Assembly plant in suburban Detroit, is due in dealerships in March. It will come in two body styles: a four-door sedan that starts at $16,995 and a five-door hatchback that starts at $18,790. Both prices include shipping.
The hatchback will make up about 60 percent of 2012 Focus sales, Robert Parker, Ford's group marketing manager for small and medium cars, has said.
The U.S. small-car segment accounted for about 13 percent of new-vehicle sales last year, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Ford has said it expects this segment to continue to grow.