2013 Ford Fusion Gets a Marketing Boost From Tupac Shakur


  • 2013 Ford Fusion Front 3/4

    2013 Ford Fusion Front 3/4

    Ford has come up with its own version of Dead Poets Society, using the work of the late Tupac Shakur, to promote the 2013 Ford Fusion. | November 20, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • The 2013 Ford Fusion is being marketed with the help of the late Tupac Shakur, the murdered rapper who has been called "an ambassador of the dispossessed."
  • Ford said it is delivering a "riveting message to the African American community" with its Fusion marketing campaign that uses Shakur's poem, "The Rose That Grew from Concrete."
  • The automaker says the poem is the "perfect description for the way the new Fusion's design came to be."

DEARBORN, Michigan — The 2013 Ford Fusion is being marketed with the help of the late Tupac Shakur, the murdered rapper who has been called "an ambassador of the dispossessed."

Ford said it is delivering a "riveting message to the African American community" with its Fusion marketing campaign that uses Shakur's poem, "The Rose That Grew from Concrete."

The automaker says the poem is the "perfect description for the way the new Fusion's design came to be."

"This campaign breaks completely away from anything we've done in the past to introduce consumers to a new vehicle utilizing a poem by one of hip hop's most celebrated artists," said Shawn Thompson, Ford manager of multicultural marketing, in a statement.

The campaign debuted this week and includes a TV advertisement in which consumers witness members of a Ford product team creating a "breakthrough" product by chiseling a large block of concrete into the Fusion.

Shakur's poem has become a favorite of high-school English teachers. YouTube is full of videos of fans reverently reading it aloud. But it doesn't have an obvious link to the auto industry, although Ford clearly looks to juxtapose the poem's inspiring theme with the work that went into creating the Fusion.

"Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?" the poem says. "Proving nature's law is wrong it learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared."

Shakur is the embodiment of an artist cut down in the prime of life. He was shot four times while sitting in the passenger seat of a BMW sedan in Las Vegas in 1996. He died seven days later. His murder remains unsolved. The New York Times said, "since Shakur's murder, the mystique surrounding him has swelled to near Elvis-like proportions."

It added: "It's no secret, though, that Tupac makes for good business." Magazine covers with his image sold out after his death. Critics, however, labeled the gangster rapper a misogynist and a promoter of violence. Former Vice President Dan Quayle argued that Shakur's music "has no place in our society."

Ford said the new Fusion ads will air on broadcast networks including BET, TV One and NBA on TNT. The print ads will appear in Essence and Jet magazines, among others.

Ford did not disclose whether Shakur's estate will benefit from the connection with the Fusion.

Edmunds says: It's either a marketing coup or a big risk for Ford to hook up with the late Tupac Shakur to hawk the redesigned Fusion. Will Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Holly be the next up to pitch the latest cars and trucks?

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