Ford Mustang was unveiled to the public on April 17, 1964. It received a lot of attention with the intensity rarely seen in the automotive market. Probably, the only Ford car that received as much attention during its unveiling was Model A that was introduced as a replacement for Model T.
Typically, car manufacturers introduced cars for the next model year in the fall of the previous year. This means that a car for the 1965 model year would be introduced in the fall of 1964.
Ford Motor Company unveiled the Mustang six months earlier, in the middle of the automotive model year. This happened because of Lacocca’s genius. He introduced the Mustang in the middle of the year to draw more attention to it and positioned it as an early 1965 model even though it was unveiled in April of 1964. Today, some car collectors refer to Mustangs produced in 1964 as 1964.5 models, which is something that doesn’t actually exist.
Ford Motor Company was not very receptive of Lacocca’s Mustang initiatives because of the disastrous production of the Ford Edsel between 1958 and 1960. Ford marketed Edsel as the car of the future, but it failed to meet the expectations of the potential buyers because they found it to be unattractive, overpriced and overhyped. However, by the time Ford started producing the Mustang, the whole company wholeheartedly believed in the car and its future success.
Convincing the prospective buyers about the uniqueness of the Mustang was not hard. All it took was showing some pictures. The buzz for the car was so widespread that Iacocca and the Mustang were featured on the covers of Newsweek and Time at the same time.
However, Iacocca didn’t stop there. Ford launched an advertising campaign and released ads in 2,600 newspapers and 24 magazines. It also bought ads on TV and was on three networks at the same time, which was unprecedented in the 1960s.