Ford Cars Used To Be Bad But Are Now Worth Buying. Honest.
[Ed. We commented on Ford's new Drive One tagline earlier in March. Now Advertising Age comments. Now, we comment again.] Just when you think that re-designed cars that actually look good and drive well - step forward Ford Focus and Chevy Malibu - might position the American carmakers to start winning back the market share and brand battle that they have been so abjectly losing to their Japanese rivals, AdAge reports on Ford's new campaign, called "Drive One".
Have you driven a Ford lately, anyone?
When a tarnished brand like Ford asks me to be surprised when I "drive one" I may register that Ford is building quality cars, but I am also reminded why I should be surprised by that - because their products were so bad for so long.
The work will focus on what Ford thinks are its four brand pillars: safety, quality, environmentalism and smart systems.
That is all well and good, but it is more cost of entry to the category than actually breakthrough. At this point, every car must be safe and Volvo still has the high ground. Quality is still a major ding on American cars so Ford should spend some time there, but Honda owns that. Environmentalism is clearly Toyotas. Smart systems, which basically means Ford's version of OnStar, is owned by GM. There is simple nothing in the "four pillars" of the Ford brand that is uniquely ownable to them.
In each pillar they pinpoint, the brand is playing catch-up.
To wrap this up, Ford's campaign is grounded in un-ownable equities and creatively driven by a call to action that reminds me that their cars used to be crap. Not good, my friends, not good.