US:Ford ads spotlight cars, not lifestyle
Ford ads spotlight cars, not lifestyle
Automaker responds to dealers' criticism that TV spots were too fluffy and didn't focus on products.
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News
Responding to dealer criticism, Ford Motor Co. is reworking its "Bold Moves" marketing campaign to include more vehicle information in its ads.
The Bold Moves campaign, which launched in May, took an unorthodox approach to marketing by focusing on customers' lives and values, rather than vehicle attributes.
The ads used "real people" to tell stories in which the cars were visible but not the whole point of the advertisement. The idea was to make people think of the cars and trucks as an extension of their lifestyle.
"It's denying the obvious," said Michael Bernacchi, professor of marketing at the University of Detroit Mercy. "The American marketplace has been about product, product and more product. They need to let the American public know that they're committed to products."
That is precisely what the automaker intends to do with its new advertising, said Ford spokesman Jim Cain.
"We've got a lot of great features and technology. If we bring that to the forefront, it can only help," Cain said. "It's not a new strategy. We're just evolving it. We got feedback from dealers that said they wanted to see more product messages in the ads."
DaimlerChrysler AG also rethought its advertising strategy after its "Ask Dr. Z" ads generated discussion but didn't lift sales.
Cain said this product focus will be clear in a new series of TV spots designed to highlight the all-wheel-drive capabilities of the 2007 Ford Fusion sedan. The ads will appear nationwide beginning around Thanksgiving.
But he said the original Bold Moves campaign has worked well for the company, particularly when it comes to changing peoples' perception of the brand.
On Sunday, Ford debuted TV commercials for its new Edge crossover on ABC's "Extreme Home Makeover." Ford plans more ads for later this year.
Changing perceptions is a priority for Ford's new president and CEO, Alan Mulally.
In an interview with The Detroit News Friday, he pointed out that new products like the Fusion have received high marks from critics like Consumer Reports magazine and should give people a reason to look at Ford again.
"We have an opportunity to get some polish out and really shine up the blue oval. … But as we're polishing it up, we're going to have to get the people back in to see Ford again," Mulally said. "You've got to show them that we're a viable alternative, and that's one step at a time. It's advertising, it's marketing, it's word of mouth. But it starts with having products that are really viable."
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....