Oprah's Big Give, Extreme Makeover, American Idol and Knight Rider Driving Ford Into Millions of Homes

Jan. 1, 2020
Ford is joining forces with Oprah Winfrey and her new reality show, Oprah's Big Give. This partnership is the latest in a series of successful product integrations with popular TV shows such as Fox's No. 1 show, American Idol and AB
Ford is joining forces with Oprah Winfrey and her new reality show, Oprah's Big Give. This partnership is the latest in a series of successful product integrations with popular TV shows such as Fox's No. 1 show, American Idol and ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as well as landing its Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR a starring role on NBC's recent Knight Rider movie.

Oprah's Big Give, which premieres Sunday, March 2 on ABC, pits contestants against one another to create projects and activities that help people in need. Celebrity judges will determine which contestants advance each week, with one person eventually being rewarded for making the biggest impact in a community.

"Oprah's Big Give shares a common theme in the quality of TV programming that Ford is sponsoring," said Bob Witter, Ford's Global Brand Entertainment Manager. "Ford is an iconic American brand and the shows, while entertaining, also celebrate and promote the best of the American spirit."

The show filmed seven episodes, including one in Los Angeles, with contestants and judges often seen driving Ford vehicles and using Ford products like SYNC. The voice-activated SYNC system, developed with Microsoft, connects people and their portable electronic devices in the vehicle, including media players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones through the latest voice activation technology.

As part of the series, Ford cars and trucks were given to people or organizations in need, and Ford dealers participated in some of the show’s charitable projects.

Ford's partnership with Fox's American Idol continues to pay dividends as the hit television show moves into its seventh season. New for 2008, Ford plans to award a once-in-a-lifetime "American Idol experience."

This season, following American Idol's music videos, host Ryan Seacrest will prompt fans to go online to enter the Ford American Idol promotion. Fans will have the opportunity to win weekly prizes, including a visit to the Ford music video set with the chance to meet the Idols, and a trip to one of the Top 12 shows. Additionally, Ford is offering one fan a grand prize of an "American IdoI experience" including a cash prize, a 2008 Ford Focus and a trip for two to the Tuesday and Wednesday finale shows in Hollywood.

"Ford's partnership with American Idol is far more than just commercials," said Witter. "In the final Top 12 shows, Ford will feature a customized video integrating a Ford vehicle in a meaningful way. Additionally, our partnership includes a national promotion that drives people to experience branded content on the show’s Web sites."

With an average of 30 million viewers per episode last year, it was no secret that American Idol would once again dominate TV screens. The show entertained 33.4 million viewers for its 2008 premiere January 15.

Ford has leveraged its partnership with American Idol to feature its vehicles in music videos with the final 12 contestants that air during the show, promoting popular models like the Ford Focus, Mustang and Fusion.

This season on American Idol, Ford will promote the Ford Escape, Escape Hybrid, Focus, Fusion, Edge and Mustang. Ford will also highlight its new SYNC system to millions of viewers.  Customized SYNC pre-roll content will appear online at www.americanidol.com as a prelude to Ford’s weekly music video features. The top two Idol finalists will both receive a Ford Escape Hybrid to promote Ford’s ongoing green commitment.  

Ford’s sponsorship of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition continues as the reality show moved into ABC’s No. 1 spot two weeks in a row, January 14-27. In 2004 Ford joined ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as a partner, and is providing families with vehicles that suit their needs.

The 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR starred as K.I.T.T. in Knight Rider February 17, in the two-hour NBC movie event. The 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR was also the grand prize for the “Ford ‘Knight Rider’ Giveaway Sweepstakes.” At four different periods during the movie, viewers were invited to go online to enter the sweepstakes by answering a question about the movie. Participants also had the opportunity to win a Ford Edge Limited All-Wheel Drive (AWD), a Ford Fusion V6 SEL AWD or a Ford Focus SES Sedan.

“Auto advertising has been the backbone of the TV industry since its earliest days,” said Witter. “But, as these programs illustrate, while Ford continues to place emphasis on traditional commercials, we also look for ways to creatively integrate our messages into shows where it fits the theme."

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