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Ford Taurus campaign relies on bar codes to enable other media

Ford Motor Co.'s new 2010 Taurus will have a multifaceted advertising campaign that includes a mobile bar code initiative meant to enable other media that is being used in the promotion.

The automaker promises that the campaign is as high-tech as the highly anticipated sedan now arriving in dealer showrooms. The campaign kicks off the on Aug. 4, with an aggressive Web presence and a new Microsoft "tag" system that will allow consumers to simply point their smartphones toward bar codes printed next to technology features in Taurus ads for more in-depth information.

"Our business is still very much a retail business and when someone is at the point of purchase, providing more in-depth information is a great way to engage with the consumer," said Lew Echlin, car marketing communications manager at Ford, Dearborn, MI. "Bar codes place consumers clicks away from information.

"The bar codes also help our other media efforts such as print and our catalogs," he said. "We are able to get more out of our print ad our catalogs as the mobile aspect adds another dimension to it.

"Lastly, the new Taurus has a lot of detailed technology and the tags work to inform customers."

The 2010 Taurus, starting at $25,995, the same price as the 2009 model, has been completely redesigned and elevated from its forerunners and includes Ford exclusives such as MyKey, SYNC , Multi-Contour Seats with Active Motion and Blind Spot Information System.

This new tagging system by Microsoft creates an individual bar code for each technology that can be captured by any smartphone.

Once it captures an image of the tag it will load animations, additional information and images of that particular technology directly to the consumer's mobile device.

The 2010 Ford Taurus advertising campaign is designed to build on the momentum Ford has gained from the success of the debuts of F-150, Mustang and Fusion earlier this year.

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.

The news Taurus is being targeted at a very specific male customer - a value-oriented "substance seeker" who appreciates a heightened attention to detail and is looking for the latest innovations without having to break his or her bank account.

Ford has developed a new way of catching this consumer's attention by using detail-oriented ads that speak a visual language this group appreciates.

The high-energy advertising complements the re-energized Taurus.

The campaign will include three broadcast spots focusing on some of the leading Taurus technologies including BLIS, SYNC and EcoBoost.

To showcase the advanced technologies, each spot begins focusing on the intricacy of the details before bringing to light the bigger picture.

For instance, a high-tech concept, like Ford's sophisticated EcoBoost twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engine technology begins to explain it graphically as the ad pulls out an illustration of the engine and then uses a "see and say" graphic, wrapping the narrated words around the illustration itself before ending on dynamic running footage of the Taurus.

Online, the technology and quality of Taurus is brought to life in five short, dramatic Webisodes that showcase particular features against those of significantly higher-priced luxury sedans.

These Webisodes will debut on and showcase the advanced technologies that put Taurus on par with world-class sedans in a minute and a half.

"Substance seekers adopt new technology and they seek out info, so the smartphone demographic was a natural fit," Mr. Echlin said. "As we continue to market to a changing customer who changes behavior, we will continue to use mobile to extend our reach."