Ford hits the road with Thunderbird PR

DETROIT: Ford is eschewing traditional TV and print ads for the launch of its new Thunderbird, and is instead planning a PR blitz that will send 20 of the cars around the US for consumers and media to see and drive.

DETROIT: Ford is eschewing traditional TV and print ads for the launch of its new Thunderbird, and is instead planning a PR blitz that will send 20 of the cars around the US for consumers and media to see and drive.

DETROIT: Ford is eschewing traditional TV and print ads for the launch of its new Thunderbird, and is instead planning a PR blitz that will send 20 of the cars around the US for consumers and media to see and drive.

Ford plans to make only 20,000-25,000 T-birds this year, so the new car is not a mass-market product.

Rather than major advertising, Ford wants to use PR to position the two-seater as a symbol of Ford's car-making prowess. 'It's to enhance the entire Ford brand,' said Bill George, Ford division marketing communications manager. 'We'll be visible, we'll be where people are.'

Ford unveiled the concept version of its new Thunderbird at the 1999 Detroit auto show and has kept the buzz going since then with an unveiling of the production model last August and placement of special edition Thunderbirds in last year's Nieman Marcus Christmas catalogs. Those T-birds, priced at dollars 41,995, sold out in two hours and 15 minutes, said Whitney Said, product launch manager for the Thunderbird.

'We just want to get out and talk to people and let them experience Thunderbird,' Said commented regarding PR plans. 'It's a unique car and it deserves a unique PR plan.'

While Ford expects to easily sell all the Thunderbirds it makes this year - it already has orders for 6,000 - it also sees PR for the car drawing customers into Ford showrooms to buy other cars. 'Thunderbird is a halo design to enhance the entire Ford brand lineup,' George said.

Ford is working with Campbell & Co., a Detroit PR agency, for media relations and event planning on the Thunderbird. A second agency, ASG Renaissance in Dearborn, MI, helped create the press kit and is working on event management.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in