Ford Taurus Ads to Use Microsoft Tags

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft have teamed up to market the auto maker’s redesigned Taurus sedan, using the new Microsoft tags that we wrote about July 31/09.

The tags allow advertisers to add colourful, two-dimensional barcodes to anything from marketing materials to computer games, and which direct consumers to specific Web sites when scanned using a mobile phone.

Ford’s print ad for Ford’s 2010 Taurus includes the bar code that, when scanned with a smart phone, connects to a microsite featuring six different video clips explaining the Taurus’s technology, ranging from a demonstration of a cruise-control system that adapts to the speed of the vehicle in front of the car, to a system that automatically detects objects in a driver’s blind spot.

Ford is using the new tag technology from Microsoft in its print advertising materials in order to give potential car buyers a more interactive introduction to the car. Consumers will need to visit the site ‘’ with their smart-phone to download a tag reader application that will activate the tags.

Looking very much like a bar code found on most consumer products, the tags are integrated into the design of an ad and can be photographed by anyone carrying a camera-equipped smart phone. Once the image has been downloaded, it then links a consumer to a company-designed Web site.

Ford plans to mail out hundreds of thousands of Taurus brochures equipped with the tags across the U.S. in October, and then follow up by embedding the tags in print advertisements.

The Taurus launch has been a major endeavor for Ford as it looks to continue momentum in the U.S. market and reestablish itself in a variety of passenger car segments. The car’s marketing has focused heavily on the vehicle’s array of new technologies, including fuel-economy improvements.

Ford has already had some success with a similar technology concept in the U.K. Consumers who scanned a tag-like bar code with their camera phone automatically loaded a three-dimensional version of the new Ford Kia. They were then routed to a Web site with more information.

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