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Ford F-150 Campaign

Drives Sales and Branding
In late 2003, Ford launched a new version of its best-selling
F-150 pickup truck. For over 22 years, the F-150 had been the top
selling pickup in the U.S., but its leadership position faced serious
competitive challenges. The launch was a critical event for Ford. CEO
William Ford, Jr. called this launch the most important launch in the
history of Ford.
The F-150 launch was the largest campaign for Ford in 50 years. It
was promoted extensively through traditional media and online. On
the Internet, the campaign ran standard ad units across leading car-
related sites and several broad-reach takeovers of high trafc portal
areas. These takeovers, dubbed digital roadblocks, ran on two key
dates spaced one month apart.
With this launch, Ford wanted to measure online advertisings
contribution to branding impact and actual new vehicle sales and
leasing. Fords goals included:
Reach Fords target audience of truck buyers
(males ages 25-54)
Create brand awareness and differentiation to maintain
leadership position
Build critical sales of the new F-150 model

Online delivers incremental truck sales

Study results proved that online advertising strongly contributed both
to sales and branding results. Measured reach of the online campaign
was huge: the comScore data showed that 49.6% of all Internet users
were exposed to the online ads during the campaign, and 39.2% to
the portal home-page roadblocks.
The online campaign delivered signicant sales lift. 6% of new
vehicle sales could be directly attributed to the online ads (without
clickthrough), and this number was higher for tracked clickthrough
Even more important was the ROI data for online advertising Brand Metric: Relative
compared to the other traditional media. TV generated the Purchase Consideration Cost
greatest reach and impact on purchase intent, but it was Index
considerably less cost-effective. For every dollar spent on
TV 2153
online advertising, it took over $21 to achieve the same
increase using TV. Magazine 354
Roadblock 196
Standard Online 100

More than an impression


Marketing Evolutions Cross Media Optimization Study (XMOS) was
designed to simultaneously measure online and ofine advertising in
the same campaign to determine the optimal mix and weight of each
marketing medium. Cross-media research used on the Ford F-150
campaign was contracted and paid for by Ford in partnership with
MSN and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Ford corporate
research and Fords agency of record J. Walter Thompson reviewed
and approved the research design and were instrumental in the
execution of the study. Marketing Evolution designed and executed
the research in partnership with the Advertising Research Foundation
(ARF). The ARF reviewed research design and all analysis provided to
Ford and included in public releases.
The branding analysis was performed on over 16,000 in-market
truck intenders over the rst six months of the campaign. Marketing
Evolution contracted Insight Express to provide data collection. Sales
data represents over 30,000 buyers from the rst few months of the
campaign. These buyers were merged with the comScores internet
usage panel and analyzed by comparing the incremental difference in
sales among exposed and control groups. In addition to advertising,
Marketing Evolution analyzed the impact key word searches, auto-
related Web sites, and Fords Web site.

Fords campaign set an industry record in advertising awareness.
The F-series trucks enjoyed double digit sales increases every month
of the launch. In measuring the results, TV had the greatest reach
and impact on purchase intent, but also the highest CPM. Online
advertising provided the highest ROI for the Ford F-150 campaign.
When measured as part of multiple media campaigns (including TV,
radio and print), online advertising:
Generated significant lift in offline sales
Was substantially more cost-effective than traditional Ford F-series enjoyed double-digit
marketing media sales increases every single month
Increased key branding metrics, including critical consumer of the launch. Ford increased its
purchase intent market share substantially in a
very competitive market. Ford was
Online advertising and search engines proved to be powerful channels
also able to reduce its consumer
in reaching consumers at the bottom of the sales funnel when
incentive costs dramatically.
they are close to making buying decisions. Marketers should include
online advertising within the media mix to improve effectiveness and
increase ROI of their marketing activities.
Study recommendations: Online spending allocations should be
increased substantially over current spending levels. (Fords online
spending level in this study was 2%.)
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More than an impression