Ford spends $20 million on 'American Idol'
Automaker returns as show sponsor to entice young buyers
By Mark Truby / The Detroit News
DEARBORN -- When the second season of "American Idol" debuts Tuesday, Ford vehicles will spend almost as much time in the spotlight as the pie-eyed contestants.
After sponsoring the Fox hit's first season last summer, Ford Motor Co. is ratcheting up its marketing efforts for the show's highly anticipated return. This time around, Ford spent an estimated $20 million to ensure its brand name and vehicles will be ubiquitously incorporated into the show.
The price tag is steep, but Ford sees "American Idol" as a unique opportunity to put its youth-oriented vehicles in front of 15 million to 20 million viewers every week.
"We are trying to break through the clutter," said Rick Novak, Ford's car advertising manager.
A few highlights:
* Contestants will share their feeling with viewers before and after their performances in the "Ford Focus Room." Contestant remarks also will be featured in "Focus on" vignettes.
* Ford vehicles will be showcased in music videos starring contestants. For example, a Mustang will be featured in a music video of the song "Mustang Sally."
* Ford cars and trucks, including the Focus, Ranger, Escape and Mustang, will be provided for finalists living together in the "American Idol" house.
* The judges will arrive at the Los Angeles auditions driving Ford Thunderbird convertables.
* The winner of a sweepstakes on idolonfox.com will receive one of the Ford vehicles used by contestants.
* The Ford brand will debut its new national ad campaign, "If you haven't looked at Ford lately, look again," on Jan 28 during the show.
Ford, along with many other large advertisers, are paying to have their products integrated into television and movies. Ford spent an estimated $30 million for the right to place vehicles in last year's James Bond film "Die Another Day."
Also last year, Ford sponsored the commercial-free season opener of the hit Fox show "24." The show's star, Kiefer Sutherland, drives an Expedition sport-utility vehicle on the program.
General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet division promoted its Aztek sport-utility on the CBS' hit reality show "Survivor."
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....