Ford is back in the driving seat

Car manufacturer sticks with the same campaign it ran for the Focus last year - and the decision pays off.

Ford has enjoyed some of the highest awareness of all the automotive brands, thanks largely to heavy endorsement through its sponsorship deals with Sky Sports News and Champions League football.

However, despite this high level of awareness, BrandIndex scores for Ford have been in decline in recent months, as a result of poor sales in the US and the UK, combined with job losses and uncertainty over future trading.

Nevertheless, Ford has persevered with advertising as a means of raising awareness of its range and reinstating the benefits that owning a Ford brings.

The latest run of the Ode to the Ford Focus ads, which first aired on 5 March, combines both approaches.

The ad features parts of the Ford Focus being played as if they were musical instruments, with the idea being that the car is a beautiful arrangement.

The ad is actually an updated version of Ford's existing campaign for the Focus.

Whereas other brands in the car sector have been introducing new ads in recent months, Ford has stuck with the same campaign for the Focus that has been in place since February last year - and the decision has paid dividends.

The accompanying chart illustrates the positive impact the ad has had on the brand's scores.

Notably, since the ad first aired, buzz for the brand has increased from -3 on 5 March to peak at +1 by 11 March.

The message of the ads also appears to be getting across to the consumer, as demonstrated by the increase in quality scores for the brand.

From 5 March to 13 March, Ford's quality score improved by four points to +22, which in turn helped to improve the brand's overall index score by one point to +20 by 13 March.

In light of the boost in scores, it appears Ford has done the right thing to stick with the existing campaign - and the timing of the ad was impeccable.

However, with continuing uncertainty in the global market, it would be naive to assume that an ad alone can reverse Ford's - and indeed the rest of the automotive sector's - fortunes.

METHODOLOGY: YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday to form its BrandIndex, a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors. It is measured on a seven-point profile:
1 Buzz
2 General impression
3 Quality
4 Value
5 Satisfaction
6 Recommend
7 Corporate reputation.
In addition, we supply an index score.

Richard Wood, www.brandindex.co.uk

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