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Brave New Year: Lincoln Gets Mercury's Ad Budget

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On: Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 6:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Brave New Year: Lincoln Gets Mercury's Ad Budget

We're sorry to tell you that 2011 is going to mean more men on your television screen. At least in terms of Ford advertising. With Mercury gone, Ford will work toward its goal of pushing its smaller lineup by transfering Mercury's ad budget over to Lincoln. And that means we're going to be seeing less of the sexy Jill Wagner, the old Mercury spokeswoman, and more of Mad Men's John Slattery.

Ford announced this week that it will be shifting Mercury's entire 2011 advertising budget over to Lincoln. The move is hardly a surprise: when Ford announced that it would be winding Mercury down last June, it indicated that it would be reinvesting money and resources from the defunct brand into Lincoln.

At the time, Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, said: "We have made tremendous progress on profitably growing the Ford brand during the past few years. Now, it is time to do the same for Lincoln. The new Lincoln vehicles will transform luxury for North American premium customers through an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort. We will also offer our customers a world-class retail experience through a vibrant retail network."

So far, it looks like 2011's New Year's resolution was to follow through on those goals.

As Bob Tasca Jr., chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council, told Automotive News: "You'll see a lot stronger presence in the advertising of Lincoln in 2011. We've got some pretty good products now. We just need to talk about them more."

Ford produced the last market Mercury, a Mariner, on October 3. As of January 1, Ford began removing the Mercury logo from dealerships.

As anyone who's ever seen a Mercury side-by-side with its Ford equivalent knows, the brand was just too close to Ford. While Ford originally created Mercury for the "aspirational class" who wanted to move upmarket from Ford, but couldn't quite afford a Lincoln, it proved to be a near-identical but marginal version of Ford. Sales suffered, and Ford realized that it would be better off focusing on its two core brands, two brands that are more recognizable and clearly differentiated. According to Detroit News, sales through November of this year were down 57 percent from five years ago and represented just 5 percent of Ford's total sales for 2010.

Ford didn't indicate how much money Lincoln will be getting for its ad push, nor did it give the specifics on what ads we'll see. The company did say that it has seven new/refreshed vehicles to launch over four years and will be using advertising to get those out there. We expect to see more of Roger Sterling, too.


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