on Thursday began its $200 million promotional push for its redesigned F-150 pickup truck, taking over the front pages of the three major portals.
The front pages of both MSN, Yahoo! and AOL have been taken over by Ford for rich media units and other placements to hype the F-150 in a so-called roadblock campaign that Ford hopes will reach 75 percent of all Internet users.
On MSN, the roadblock campaign features an over-the-page rich media ad that shakes the page and then dissolves into a floating icon. Other placements include a 230 x 33 banner ad that offers pictures of the new truck and a link for more information and a header text link on the page.
“This is the first time that MSN.com has blocked the homepage,” said Karen Redetzki, product manager for MSN. “We wanted to have this as a branding campaign as well as a direct response campaign.”
Likewise, Yahoo!’s homepage is dominated by the F-150. Its two most prominent positions are devoted to ads for the truck, offering close up shots of the F-150 and links to the Ford site for more information and video of the vehicle.
On AOL, its “Welcome Screen” features a rich media ad for the F-150, marking the first time the front page of the Internet service has featured a rich media placement. AOL only began accepting advertising for its front page back in February.
To coincide with the campaign, Ford is hyping an online F-150 giveaway on both sites. The contest runs through Sept. 16.
The online placements officially begin Ford’s “F-150 Kickoff Weekend.” The weekend’s centerpiece is a saturation of TV spots during all 16 National Football League games, which begin with tonight’s New York Jets-Washington Redskins tilt. The automaker will also run spots during prominent college football games, hoping to reach at least half of its core audience. Ford plans to run spots for the F-150 during every NFL game this season.
The $200 million campaign, which is billed as Ford’s largest ever, will also feature print ads in magazines and newspapers, as well as billboard advertising.
Auto advertisers have increasingly turned to the Web to find buyers, spending about $365 million last year on Internet ads, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a 55 percent increase from the previous year. The demand for Internet ads from automakers has been so high that an automotive upfront was held this year, with General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler locking in premier auto-related ad space for the coming year.