Ford has had a lengthy relationship with TV One, where distribution is climbing toward 50 million homes. This summer, it served as the title sponsor of a special that went behind the scenes of an annual business-plan competition held for African-American college students.
The "UnSung" deal was inked with One Solution, which crafts campaigns for advertisers across an array of properties under a broader African-American media umbrella. The options include the radio stations owned by Radio One (a lead TV One owner) and BlackPlanet.com.
The hourlong "UnSung" -- running through Nov. 22 -- profiles African-American musicians who never got the acclaim they deserved. Examples: DeBarge, a family group that has resonated with hip-hop stars today, but never received Jackson 5-type recognition, and Bootsy Collins, whose influence touched James Brown and George Clinton.
Part of the Ford effort includes a spot that combines messages for Taurus and "UnSung," which is featured in all episodes. A micro-site on social network venue BlackPlanet.com has been set up, with "UnSung" Webisodes. Ford will also have a home-page takeover on the site, looking to drive visitors to fordurban.com.
Also, Ford spots and vignettes will run during morning shows syndicated by Radio One.
In more than 48 million homes, TV One targets a slightly older audience than some of the BET Networks properties -- in line with families that may be attracted to the Taurus. "UnSung" is the network's highest-rated original series.
Radio One and TV One Chief Revenue Officer Keith Bowen states the show "resonates with African Americans in their 30s and early 40s who have great curiosity about those artists who moved their souls and feet to the dance floor during the 1980s."
According to Crystal Worthem, Ford's multicultural marketing manager, the "UnSung" initiative "reaches the great majority of our target market utilizing platforms that are most relevant to them."