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The little Ford Focus is trying to connect with fashion.

Ford Division and Hachette Filipacchi Magazines last week kicked off an integrated marketing program estimated at $2 million and dubbed ‘Fashion in Focus.’

The January issues of Elle and Premiere will have a two page advertorial teasing the Fashion in Focus fashion show Feb. 11 in Manhattan to unveil the car part creations, along with a one page ad from J. Walter Thompson USA in Detroit. It will have an area for visitors to enter a contest for tickets to the fashion show.

The new area of the Web site was launched last week. The site will broadcast the fashion show live. Web site visitors can vote for their favorite design. The two Hachette titles’ February issue will carry a similar three page package with more event details, and March editions will offer a 12 page advertorial about the show.

‘We challenged our marketing partners to go beyond programs that just place ads,’ said Focus brand manager Bob Fesmire. ‘Hachette clearly has stepped up to the plate.’

The effort will hit the car’s target of 16 to 28 year olds, he said. Roughly 60 percent of Focus buyers are women.

Ford’s two year deal with Hachette expired this year but was extended for a year, said Stephen McEvoy, vice president of national sales at Hachette. The Focus deal includes Hachette’s outdoor board in Manhattan on Broadway between 51st and 52nd streets.

He said that there are ‘shared costs’ for the program. Neither he nor Ford would discuss specifics.

From the time the first Focus ads began in September 1999,
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Ford said the small car would get ‘episodic launches’ for two years. Fesmire, who became brand manager of the Focus last spring, said another limited edition version of the car is planned in spring 2001.

Ford is now selling the Street Edition Focus, which was unveiled at the Miami Auto Show in October. Earlier this year it sold a Kona Edition featuring a Kona mountain bike and a Sony limited edition model with a swanky Sony sound systems.

Fesmire predicted Ford would sell 300,000 Focus cars this year.

He said his ad budget for the car will decline slightly next year. Ford spent $54.6 million in measured media on the Focus from January to August of this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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