Virtually all automakers attempt to mold their image by aligning themselves with other organizations and sporting events, but we can't think of a recent move as extreme as that of Ford Motor Co. dropping its interest in the genteel sport of golf to sponsor professional bull-riding.

According to the Detroit Press, as part of its Way Forward plan, the automaker has already withdrawn from the PGA Tour and Senior Players Championship, and is strengthening its relationship with the Professional Bull Riders. The company even purchased a stake (steak?) in one of the beasts, which has been named ‘Super Duty’.

Reaction by the public has yet to be reported. But Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research, believes that this new image focus is necessary. "On one hand,” said Spinella, “you're trying to be Arnold Palmer, and on the other, you're trying to be a cowboy.” Research by the Power Information Network shows around 71-percent of Blue Oval vehicle buyers are men, compared to the 64-percent industry average-- making the brand name one of the most masculine among consumers.

Ford will continue to showcase its vehicles at other happenings, including NASCAR, Ironman Triathlon events and of course, American Idol.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]