Ford has to show people that while the Taurus nameplate remains, there is a whole new car behind it. Matt Van Dyke, Ford marketing director, says good news about Taurus is that it has very high name recognition, something like 87%. The bad news is that a lot of the people who recognize the name don’t think much about.
The challenge for Ford’s marketing team is to create a more favorable impression of the car through an aggressive advertising campaign that will use television and newspapers, and a broad digital campaign complete with some clever videos “experiential” advertising that drives home the point that Taurus is completely new and is vastly different from the old sedans that populated rental fleets from coast to coast.
“This is a transformational car for us,” Van Dyke said. “This is a whole new approach to using ‘word of mouth’ that will showcase our fantastic new Taurus. Just as Taurus is reshaping the idea of what a sedan can be, this campaign will reshape how people learn about Taurus.”
The 2010 Taurus is priced starting at $25,995 but running up to almost $40,000 for SHO performance model. The base price is the same as the outgoing model. But the “Webisodes” pit the technology features and quality found against more expensive luxury sedans from Audi, Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
With more than 20 high-tech technologies to communicate on the new Taurus, some even industry firsts and 10 of them class-exclusive, Taurus takes on communicating these technologies “smartly” and with a new approach to advertising with an assist from Microsoft.
“The convenience and ability to offer customers additional information at the touch of their mobile device speaks volumes on how technologically advanced the new Taurus is,” Van Dyke said.
“This high-tech marketing process will showcase the attention to detail that customers shopping for Taurus will appreciate,” he said.
The new Taurus also will be heavily advertised on NFL and NCAA Football telecasts this fall, Van Dyke said. Ford is aiming at a customer segment that leans toward a male demographic, so many of the media placements are geared toward activities primarily associated with men –NASCAR, NCAA, Fantasy Football and the NFL.
Ford kicks off the advertising campaign for Taurus next week on August 4th, with an “aggressive” Web presence and a new Microsoft “tag” system that will allow consumers to simply point their Smart Phones toward barcodes printed next to technology features in Taurus ads for more in-depth information.
“Taurus is the right sedan for the times,” said Jim Farley, group vice president of Global Marketing. “This is the perfect car to showcase our commitment to engineering excellence and precision. It’s the ideal car to show what Ford is capable of,” he said.
The goal is to reach a very specific customer, a value-oriented “substance seeker” who appreciates a heightened attention to detail and is looking for the latest innovations without having to cripple their bank account.
“It’s our job to take the technology to consumers, and demonstrate how it can improve their overall experience behind the wheel,” said Farley. “Everything we do in this campaign is designed to draw people in and entice them to learn more about the Taurus, online or in our dealerships,” Farley said.