F-150 Hits Info Superhighway

With the efficiency of a computer virus, Ford Motor Co. spreads its '04 F-150 marketing message in cyberspace. In a 1-day push on Sept. 4 that coincided with the launch of a campaign aimed at National Football League fans, Ford exposed its redesigned flagship to 75% of the Internet's portal traffic with high-profile ads on Yahoo!, MSN and AOL. The auto maker also launched an animated, interactive

With the efficiency of a computer virus, Ford Motor Co. spreads its '04 F-150 marketing message in cyberspace.

In a 1-day push on Sept. 4 that coincided with the launch of a campaign aimed at National Football League fans, Ford exposed its redesigned flagship to 75% of the Internet's portal traffic with high-profile ads on Yahoo!, MSN and AOL.

The auto maker also launched an animated, interactive site at http://f150.fordvehicles.com/allnewf150/. Early returns show it attracted more hits than any other Ford website, a company spokeswoman says.

“It didn't crash, but it got really, really slow,” she adds.

Of the first-day hits, which totaled 2.5 million, Ford lays claim to more than 150,000 leads. At its peak, the site was attracting 3,400 hits per second.

While it's no stretch to imagine legions of prospective truck buyers among the NFL faithful, it may come as surprise that computer nerds also need the gear-hauling grunt that a fullsize pickup brings.

“F-150 has a huge, huge customer base,” the spokeswoman says, noting U.S. sales have exceeded 800,000 units in each of the last five years.

Given the target demographic of the new F-150, there likely is a considerable overlap between gridiron and geek-dom. Ford says the average customer is age 45 with a household income of $65,000; 80% are married and 85% are male.

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