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Bored of Ford? American Idol isn't.

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I love my Ford Focus. I've had it for ten years almost to the day and only now is it starting to grumble for the first time with 90,000 miles on the clock. It's reliable, solid, still looks lovely (in my eyes) and takes corners like it's on rails. Admittedly I do stop dead in my tracks and follow the perfect contours of an Aston Martin DB9 should it happen to drive past, but given that I'm not a banker, I think my Ford Focus will do me just fine.  

But what was it that attracted me to it in the first place? The advertising, perhaps? Well, no - I can't remember having seen any TV adverts for it at the time. I bought it based on the fact that it was then Car Of The Year, was within my budget and Top Gear raved about it. And now that I come to think about it, I can't remember seeing that many adverts for the newly restyled Ford Fiesta recently either, which I find a bit surprising, given how much of a facelift its had, both inside and out. There is an ad out, apparently, and I hunted it down. It's a bit...boring, I have to say. You'd be forgiven for retaliating with "oh, come on, it's JUST a Ford Fiesta. What did you expect?" but look at the phenomenal amount of advertising it gets in the USA. And don't forget, they are even more nuts about 4x4s and massive station wagons than the rest of the world put together. Small cars are more our bag than theirs.

The popularity of the new Ford Fiesta is in no small part thanks to American Idol, currently one of the most successful shows on Fox TV - and in fact, on American TV in general. Now into its ninth season, American Idol is sponsored by two colossal brands: Coca-Cola and Ford. If you're a fan of X Factor but want to see singers with actual talent who sing something other than "Ain't No Sunshine", you may have tuned in to watch the show on ITV2. If so, you'll know what I'm talking about. By the way, if have any idea why the Coke logo on the cups is always blurred out but we get to see the weekly Ford adverts featuring the Idol finalists, do let me know the explanation. Oh, and by contrast, what do we get in the way of advertising on ITV2? American Idol is sponsored by a camp hippo trying to flog us mattresses. Not very rock 'n' roll, is it?

Say what you want about American Idol, they do help make very good Ford adverts (and the audience is unlikely to nip out for a cup of tea, as they are incorporated into the show itself). The best Ford advert I can remember in the UK was about 15 years ago - the one accompanied by Brian May's "Everything We Do Is Driven By You" - but even they were a bit obvious, ideas-wise. There's only so many times I can look at a mountainous open road without feeling resentful that I live near London's permanently clogged North Circular. Ford and American Idol have taken car adverts to a whole new level with Matrix-like special effects and a healthy dollop of lively fun which is guaranteed to make every excitement-loving 20-something rush out and buy a Ford Fiesta. You can see all the American Idol Ford Fiesta videos here, starting with the Matrix-influenced "Frozen Moment".

Now, the question is...why can't we do that on this side of the pond?

by Ashley Morrison

Ashley is a freelance copywriter, blogger and editor.

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