The Web @ Work / Ford Motor Co.
                    October 16, 2000

                    A weekly case study

                    Controlling Damage: Ford Motor Co., enmeshed in one of the worst
                    product recalls to hit the automotive industry, is turning to the Web to
                    protect its name. Since August, when Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
                    announced a recall of 6.5 million tires, on the Ford Explorer, Ford has
                    blasted the Web with a simple banner ad that it has used on about 200
                    Web sites, with the potential to reach as many as 564 million people.
                    Ford has previously used the Web to launch products, but never to this
                    extent. As a result, Ford's recall advertisement is now the No. 1 ad on
                    the Internet, and Ford has jumped to the 25th largest online advertiser,
                    ranked by so-called impressions or potential viewers, according to
                    Jupiter Media Metrix Inc., New York. That's up from its July rank of a
                    distant 325. Media Metrix executives note Ford has taken online
                    advertising to new heights by tapping the Web's ability to act as a
                    damage-control vehicle.

                                        Official News Here: "For official Ford News on
                                        the Firestone recall, click here," says the ad,
                                        running above Ford's flowing script logo. With a
                                        mouse click, browsers would then be linked to
                                        Ford's recall site within the home page
                                        ( The recall site includes such
                                        information as which three tire models are
                                        included in the recall, which tires could be used
                                        to replace them, and authorized replacement
                                        dealers. It also includes Ford's press releases
                    and a statement from Chief Executive Officer Jacques Nasser assuring
                    owners that "there are two things that we never take lightly: Your
                    safety and your trust."

                    Ford's strategy was first to get mass reach from major Internet service
                    providers and Web sites, including America Online Inc., its CompuServe
                    division, and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet service. Next it hit the
                    news sites, including those of New York Times, USA Today, Washington
                    Post and The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile those papers were running
                    almost daily stories on the recall, including those questioning the
                    stability of the Explorer and whether Ford and Firestone, a unit of
                    Japan's Bridgestone Corp., withheld important safety information from
                    the public. Ford then bought space on networks of smaller Web sites
                    and leveraged existing online partnerships, such as with the
                    women-oriented and youth hangout With
                    Carpoint, in which it owns about a 25% stake, it created pop-up
                    warnings for Carpoint's registered Explorer owners who would have
                    been affected by the recalled tires.

                    100% Online: Traffic to has
                    jumped to more than 1.4 million in August
                    from 900,000 visitors in July, the most
                    recent figures available from Media Metrix.
                    Ford is so pleased with its Internet
                    success that it continues to increase the
                    Internet portion of the budget as a
                    percentage of the total campaign. Typically
                    Internet ads comprise 4% to 5% of a
                    typical product campaign, but for Ford's recall efforts, that has jumped
                    to 10%, says a Ford spokeswoman. Its limited television advertising,
                    two spots with Mr. Nasser, stopped in early September and it is now
                    planning to pull its full-page newspaper ads, which have been running
                    weekly in 125 daily newspapers as well as in 35 or so targeted ethnic

                    "Our budget will go 100% online," says Christine Toth, communications
                    supervisor at Ford's longtime ad agency, J. Walter Thompson, a unit of
                    WPP Group. Online results have been average, with .13% of the
                    potential audience clicking on the ad to jump to Ford's Web site. Still,
                    that number means 735,000 users have clicked through.

                    "So far we feel like it's been somewhat successful," says Ms. Toth.

                    Removing Tarnish: Whether the online campaign, which Jupiter
                    estimates cost $3.5 million, has helped Ford's overall image is difficult to
                    track, but it probably hasn't harmed it. Charlie Buchwalter, vice
                    president of media research for Jupiter's AdRelevance division, says the
                    ad "gives a very strong signal that this company does not want to
                    sweep this under the rug."

                                                                  --Karen Lundegaard