Ford to play on Thunderbirds movie tie-up

Ford is planning a summer marketing campaign aimed at parents and their children based on its tie-up with Universal Pictures’ Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds theme will be picked up in advertising created by Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) and a Thunderbirds-themed environment at Ford dealerships over the summer. Ford is also offering Thunderbirds merchandise to tempt families into its showrooms.

The company is already spending millions on recreating Tracy Island for its stand at this month’s British Motor Show.

The campaign is being overseen by Ford European media manager Joanne Sheehan, who claims the promotion is not simply directed at children, but at the whole family. Ford has previously incorporated children-friendly imagery in its marketing; last year it used Tom & Jerry for an ad campaign by O&M for the Mondeo.

Thunderbirds, which is directed by Jonathan Frakes and stars Sir Ben Kingsley, goes on release in the UK on July 23. Ford has assisted Universal Pictures by designing and creating the pink FAB 1 car for the film, as well as providing normal road cars.

Gerry Anderson, the creator of the cult TV series on which the film is based, last year criticised Ford’s involvement, saying that lead character Lady Penelope would only drive a Rolls-Royce (MW December 4, 2003).

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