Ford and its dealers produce 30-minute infomercials

Encouraged by the successful Toronto test of an infomercial last November, Ford of Canada and its Ford & Mercury Dealer Associations have jumped into the infomercial age in a big way.On March 4, Ford launched the first national, direct response Canadian...

Encouraged by the successful Toronto test of an infomercial last November, Ford of Canada and its Ford & Mercury Dealer Associations have jumped into the infomercial age in a big way.

On March 4, Ford launched the first national, direct response Canadian infomercial campaign for ‘The Plan,’ its car leasing program operated through Ford Credit.

A 30-minute full-motion and 30-minute stop-motion infomercial have been created by Ford agency Young & Rubicam of Toronto to run for the next three months.

The infomercials are supported by traditional 30-second tv commercials as well as print ads.

Two other companies have worked closely with y&r to put the program together.

Direct response agency Firstcom Cato Johnson has set up The Plan Action Centre, a 1-800 telemarketing unit at y&r’s Toronto office.

The calls are tracked immediately and the sales leads are forwarded to Ford and Mercury dealers within 12 hours for follow-up.

A system is also in place to track follow-up and monitor the campaign’s success.

The telemarketers have been able to generate thousands of leads since the beginning of the campaign.

The second partner in the Ford campaign is Infomercial specialists Edwards Sterling & Pierce, which was key in developing the new national program and the 1993 Toronto test infomercial.

The 30-minute full-motion Ford infomercial is running on independent Canadian tv stations and u.s. border stations.

It has been tailored for each region, and runs about twice a week between midnight and 6 a.m. on conventional Canadian stations.

The 30-minute stop-motion infomercial airs between four to eight times a day on Canadian cable stations, including the Value Plus Network.

Current regulations call for infomercials not to exceed 12 minutes per hour for broadcast during the day and evening

Serge Rancourt, senior vice-president, managing partner of Y&R Canada says the infomercial format ‘is expected to expand dramatically in the Canadian market over the next two years as [Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunictions Commission] restrictions are relaxed.

‘Infomercials bring a different dimension to advertising, enabling us to persuade consumers about a product or service, as well as generate a database for immediate and future action,’ Rancourt says.