Ford Marks Its Brand on AMC

Jun 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

AMC has roped the Ford Motor Co. as the presenting sponsor for its original Western “Broken Trail.”

The seven-figure ad buy marks the first time Ford has advertised on the Rainbow Media-owned network.

The automaker has been spending heavily to support its new “Bold Move” slogan. That’s a good fit with both the themes of the movie, which stars Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church, and with AMC’s plan to do more original programming, said Arlene Manos, president of Rainbow National Network Advertising Sales.

Ford’s sponsorship includes brought-to-you-by billboards that will appear at the beginning of the movie, which is being shown in two two-hour segments June 25 and 26. The automaker also gets tagged tune-in spots, and vignettes that show bold parts of the movie to segue into Ford commercials.

“We are celebrating people who make bold moves in their lives,” said Mary Lou Quesnell, director of brand DNA for Ford. “This supports exactly what the Ford brand and Ford Bold Moves is all about, so we thought it was perfect.”

Ms. Quesnell said Ford is looking for new avenues to get its message out. “We’re not stuck on traditional media or specific media outlets, so this is something new and different and we’ll give it a try,” she said. “And that’s part of Bold Moves-not doing things the same as we’ve always done them in the past.”

Ford is also featured in print ads for the movie, and the automaker sponsors online elements, including a “Making of Broken Trail” section of the AMC Web site, a “Broken Trail” mini-site and a sweepstakes.

The movie will premiere with limited commercial breaks. Each part will be interrupted only three times, about half AMC’s normal load. That’s another feature that appealed to Ford, Ms. Manos said.

Ford is the latest automaker to sign on with AMC, which began accepting advertising four years ago. General Motors, Acura, Hyundai and Subaru are also on the channel.

AMC has also been ramping up the amount of original programming on the network.

Ed Carroll, president of Rainbow Entertainment Services, said AMC remains a movie channel at its core, “but we pepper it with originals that extend out the franchise and bring some fresh value to the network.”

Along with Westerns, the con-man genre has been strong on AMC. The network is bringing back the original series “Hustle,” co-produced by the BBC. Some scenes are being shot in the U.S. to give it more of an American feel.

AMC and Ford are expecting “Broken Trail” to deliver at least the 1 million adults 25 to 54 who tuned into AMC’s first run of “Hidalgo” on June 10. AMC is running its better movies in the run-up to “Broken Trail” to create a promotional platform. The network television premiere of “The Last Samurai” is scheduled for June 17-19, and the network television premiere of “Open Range” is set for June 24.

“We’re hoping it does a real nice number,” said Ms. Manos, referring to Nielsen Media Research household ratings. “We’ve certainly seen 2’s before. We’d love to see a 3.”

The “Broken Trail” trail sponsorship is a big part of a second- and third-quarter ad buy on AMC.

“It’s a substantial commitment to AMC for the first time,” Ms. Manos said. “We really wouldn’t give this away to somebody. They knew it was our biggest thing, a different thing for us too.”

Ms. Manos hopes Ford will also buy the network during the upfront.

“If you can get them in, and you behave well and treat them well and do all the things that a responsible network does, and it’s a good experience for them, that’s what you’re hoping for.”