Country music's Keith is one bright spot for struggling Ford

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Ford Motor Co. is considering alliances with other companies but it already has a powerful ally on its side -- country music singer Toby Keith.

As part of the automaker's "Bold Moves" marketing campaign, it is sponsoring Mr. Keith's 60-stop "Hookin' Up and Hangin' Out Tour," which pulls into the Post-Gazette Pavilion in Burgettstown for shows tonight and tomorrow.

Ford says its research shows that listening to country music is one of the top three activities that Ford truck customers participate in during their free time. They also are heavily involved in racing and outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.

To accompany Mr. Keith's concerts across the country, Ford launched a new "Hang With Toby" Web site at www.hangwithtoby.com that features a contest to win a 2007 Ford F-150 FX4 pickup and the chance to meet the country star and appear in an upcoming music video.

Mr. Keith, a third generation Ford truck owner, has been connected with Ford marketing efforts since August 2002, with the "Ford Truck Man" national advertising campaign.

Mr. Keith continues to appear in the company's F-Series advertising in a series of humorous commercials that help "educate" naysayers on "The Truth About Trucks" by pointing out Ford's advantages over its competitors.

His appearance here will feature Mr. Keith's own Ford F-150 truck -- particularly in his theatrical entrance -- which will remain on stage during the performance.

Perhaps some of this goodwill will translate to sales for Ford, which lost $1.4 billion in the first half of this year.

Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press
Toby Keith performs during the 2004 American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Click photo for larger image.

Don Hammonds can be reached at dhammonds@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1538.


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