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Ford’s Farley: Shift to digital media is “most important transition” company is making

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Ford’s Farley: Shift to digital media is “most important transition” company is making

04/15/2010, 11:36 AMBY DREW JOHNSON

The economic downturn that began in 2008 had a profound effect on the automotive industry, impacting everything production capacity to dealership networks. Ad budgets weren’t safe, either, with many of the world’s automakers rethinking their typically well-funded marketing budgets.

Ford was one of those automakers to take a closer look at where its ad dollars were going, with the Blue Oval deciding that digital media was the best return on investment. While actually considered a slight gamble at the time, Ford marketing head Jim Farley says the risk has more than paid off.

“Everything has to work in this economy,” Farley said at an event hosted by Advertising Age. “If the economy hadn’t dropped the way it did, we would have been on auto pilot and not experimented the way we did. Our production quality online is better than our broadcast.”

Farley went as far as to call the sift to digital media “the most important transition” Ford is currently making. Ford’s digital media budget is now about 25 percent of its entire marketing funds.

As a result of its digital media efforts, Ford has grown its U.S. market share by the largest percentage since “Saturday Night Fever” was playing in the theaters. Ford’s ad dollars are also more focused than ever, thanks to the shedding of the Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo brands.



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