CAMPAIGNS: Cox's Maxim link-up aids Ford Fiesta - Consumer PR

The Ford Fiesta, although popular, was perceived by consumers as an unexciting commodity associated with an older generation. Ford aimed to raise awareness of its 2002 overhaul of the existing model, which has a more contemporary design.


To reposition the Fiesta as a contemporary new car to a younger audience ahead of the re-designed model's sales launch in April. To gain coverage within lifestyle media rather than the automotive press.

Strategy and Plan

As cars are rarely a topic of great interest for lifestyle magazines, PiranhaKid decided Ford needed a 'face of Fiesta' to give the launch a lifestyle angle.

Sara Cox, host of the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, was chosen to personify the grounded values but modern appeal of the new Fiesta.

Both were 'down-to-earth national favourites who had grown into a more sophisticated image', according to PiranhaKid.

PiranhaKid linked with Maxim magazine and created a photo-feature based on Cox's day-off from Radio 1.

A selection of images was taken at the Maxim shoot, including a shot of Cox styled as a mechanic and a re-creation of the Norman Parker portrait of Jerry Hall as a traffic warden.

These were then used to create exclusive picture spreads with other sectors of the lifestyle media including OK! magazine.

Measurement and Evaluation

The photo-shoot resulted in a Maxim front cover featuring the Fiesta and a six-page article, which included a double-page spread of Cox washing the Fiesta and a detailed interview including Cox's opinion on the car's design.

Cox hadn't done much commercial work in the past two or three years and her involvement alongside good- quality photographs helped attract media attention.

OK! used the pictures taken for the campaign for a front cover and three pages inside.

PiranhaKid even had enquiries from other men's consumer magazines wanting to use the pictures, although the deal with Maxim precluded this.

The photos of Cox and the Fiesta appeared in Hello! and The Sun (half a page in the Bizarre section). Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles read out The Sun piece on his show during the launch.

A further picture feature was planned with the News of the World during the Easter Bank Holiday but this was scrapped due to the death of the Queen Mother.


Through the lifestyle press, the Fiesta campaign reached 28.3 million people overall, and achieved a rare feat for a car - a high-profile feature in Maxim.

As the car has just been launched, the impact on sales figures has yet to be calculated.

However, the campaign got a very positive response from dealers who felt it would help them sell the new Fiesta.

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