Alex Brownsell
Feb 28, 2011

Ford unveils first global ad campaign for Focus, Sorrell comments

GLOBAL - Long-standing WPP client Ford has unveiled the first in a series of global ad campaigns for the Focus, which are designed to build a consistent brand position across its regional markets while maintaining "local flavour".

Ford launches the first global ad campaign for its Focus model.
Ford launches the first global ad campaign for its Focus model.

The TV, print and outdoor campaign, created by Blue Hive, WPP's dedicated Ford of Europe team, promotes 14 different technological aspects of the new Ford Focus model.

The car's features, such as 'Active Park Assist', which enables the vehicle to automatically park itself, and 'Start-Stop', which turns the engine turns on and off depending on whether the vehicle is stationary or not, are illustrated in each 20-second TV ad.

Ford is attempting to create an "accumulative effect" by launching a high number of short TV ads that inform viewers about the car's range of technologies.

The integrated campaign forms part of the manufacturer's wider 'One Ford' corporate strategy led by chief executive Alan Mulally, which aims to reshape Ford as a more efficient global company.

Ford will launch a range of cars across all its global markets, rather than differing versions in the US, Europe and Asia, starting with the Focus. New versions of C-Max and Kuga, based on the Focus vehicle platform, will follow.

Local marketing teams will be able to select from a range of 50 Focus TV ads and print and outdoor executions, as well as digital marketing, to add "local flavour".

Ads launch in the US on Tuesday (1 March) during TV talent contest 'American Idol', and rolls out in the UK and Europe in mid-March.

The campaign has been developed and overseen by Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, and Elena Ford, global marketing director.

Farley said Ford needs to be "more consistent" in its TV and print advertising. He insisted the creation of a single global campaign does not result in one-size-fits-all marketing, and instead targets the "highest common multiple".

He said the company had rejected the possibility of promoting the Focus as a global vehicle as drivers "don't care".

Ford, which has been WPP's biggest client since 1987, had historically run different creative in the US, Europe and Asia through multiple group agencies – JWT, Y&R, Ogilvy, Wunderman, MEC and Mindshare.

Sorrell claimed, "It was a fragmented, disaggregated, siloed model. It didn't work."

Presenting the work alongside Farley, he argued his brand-led agency model can lead to "better, not blander" work, that it showed how integration done well made for more effective creative.

He believes the future of the industry lies in the client brand-led agency-within-an-agency model that Ford's needs have led WPP to set up, beginning with Team Detroit in 2006 and rolling out globally, including the creation of Blue Hive for Ford of Europe last year.

Sorrell said, "People look at these global approaches and they tend to think it's a question about cost and efficiency. It isn't. It's about getting better work.

"This is the way that our industry is going to go. This is the way the clients will get better work – not cheaper work... More effective work, access to more resources.

He paid tribute to Ford with the candid assessment that "life has not been easy", but the integration would not have been possible without the client's direction.

"You have to have a client with a strong vision ... There's a lot of talk in our industry about trying to integrate. You can only do that when you have the client taking the lead. The agency can follow.

This article was first published on

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