For the past couple of years, Ford has put much of its attention on compact cars to compete with Asian brands globally. But now that the newest Mustang is out, it's time to start talking muscle -- and mileage.
The campaign for the new 2011-model Mustang aims to reach younger consumers with the first TV ads for the car since 2006 and lots of interactive elements, all to get the message out that performance also means in-car technology, and a 305 hp engine that gets 31 mpg on the highway.
"That will get the focus," says Steve Ling, Ford car marketing manager. "That's what people find most consistently surprising, whether they are Mustang fans or people who haven't considered one before. It's surprising and shocking, that juxtaposition between Mustang's horsepower and fuel economy."
The :30 TV ads also showcase a limited-edition version of the car, the 2011 DUB Edition Mustang, developed by Ford, DUB Magazine and Roush Industries. The ad, shot in San Francisco, shows the car tooling down empty city streets to rock music, with supers using an "M" motif to connect 31 mpg to words like "Primal," "Amped" and "Untamed." The vehicle gets 19 mph in the city.
Ford started running a 60-second cinema version of the ad on April 30 prior to tentpole movies like "Iron Man 2," "Sex and the City 2" and "Twilight Saga."
The campaign also includes print and Internet ads and social media elements at Ford's Mustang Facebook page. Ford is embellishing the site with videos about the car, Web chats with engineers, promotions, and updates on races and enthusiast events.
Ling says the ads also tout in-vehicle technology like Sync, and vehicle handling. "When we talk to younger enthusiasts, they define performance by handling; they are more focused on things like weight and technology."
He says the ad buy reflects an effort to reach a broader audience interested in more than pure power. "We want to open it up to a greater number of people, which is why we launched it on 'American Idol'," he says. "We are running print ads in buff books but also in lifestyle magazines."
"The thing that's really nice with Mustang is we have a wonderful customer base," says Ling. "And also, because it is an all-around car, we see cross-shopping among a very broad base, not just in the sports car segment; you'll see it cross-shopped against vehicles like Camry, Accord, so it's very difficult to define."
Ford is also advertising, separately, the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 that gets 412 horsepower, and 26 mpg. Three print ads with the tag "All Legend. No Compromise," will run in buff books like Motor Trend, Car and Driver and Popular Mechanics.
The 5.0 is the pace car at the Coke Zero 400 on July 3 at Daytona, and the car is also being marketed at NHRA and Formula Drift races and club events and on enthusiast Web sites. Ford is taking two custom Mustangs -- a version modified for hip hop artist Nelly, and the 2011 Dub Edition version -- on the DUB Magazine tour, which travels to various cities across the country through November.