Ford on Thursday kicked off a new combined print and mobile campaign for its Edge crossover in The New York Times that includes 2D barcodes in print ads providing readers with access to Times articles on technology and style on their phones.
Ford is running a full-page ad Thursday in The Times featuring the 2011 Edge, highlighting the vehicle's new voice recognition technology called MyFord Touch. An upgrade to the automaker's Sync in-car communication system, MyFord Touch promises the ability to recognize up to 10,000 voice commands and launches initially with the Edge.
The bottom of the ad includes 2D barcodes providing mobile users with camera phone access to a selection of Times articles on technology and style intended to appeal to tech-savvy prospective Edge buyers. When someone uses the barcodes to link to the stories on their handset, Ford banner ads will appear at the top of those mobile pages, extending the company's branding to the phone screen.
People without camera phones could text a specific keyword for each of the four featured stories to 698698 to receive the link to that article on the mobile site.
Ford also bought a home page takeover of the Times' mobile site on Thursday. Eric Peterson, a Ford spokesman, said the execution pairing print with mobile was combining the reach and content of The New York Times with a mobile tie-in "was a perfect fit for the Edge." He added that the inclusion of Times articles that related to the tech-centric theme of the campaign came about through joint planning and discussion by Ford and the newspaper's ad staff.
Times spokesperson Kristin Mason said the Edge ad was the first time the newspaper has worked with an advertiser to include barcodes that link to Times content. Because the articles are identified as Times stories in the print ad and appear with reporter bylines on the site, the newspaper is not worried about readers mistaking them for advertorial.
The barcode and mobile component will be part of Ford's remaining seven placements with the Times through the rest of the year, according to Mason.