Ford Falls Prey to Brand Blather Disease


Ford, which is sponsoring the singer's summer tour, has aligned itself with Kelly Clarkson and is using her new song, Go, in a JWT Detroit-created :60. The campaign marks the switch from the company's old tagline. "Built for the road ahead" to the new and relatively meaningless tagline, "Bold moves."

There ought to be a rule for taglines. They ought to actually mean something and not be so bland they can be slapped on any brand interchangeably. "Bold moves"? I mean WTF? Are we talking about Bold detergent moving stains out of a shirt? OK, maybe Ford is makming some bold moves here but this tagline is about as descriptive as Intel's lame switch to "Leap Ahead" which sounds like some descriptor for a kangaroo daylight savings time convention. Seems Ford and JWT caught the boardroom brand blather disease.

If you've ever been part of a brand development team or sat in on a brand development meeting when the agency gets all "vision, mission, essence, position" and throws up all these descriptive words and phrases on the white board, you'll love the new website because JWT took all those words and threw them up all over the website in some sort of effort to bring meaning to the tagline. If you spend enough time on the website, you'll be brainwashed as if you were right there in all those brand development meetings drinking the Kool Aid. So, I guess this campaign's sledge hammer approach just might work after all.

by Steve Hall    May- 2-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Brands, Campaigns, Television   

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So I think this makes 4 taglines in 5 years...that might be some kind of record. It seems that with each new Ford exec (or JWT Creative or Acct Exec) comes a new tagline. No Boundaries > Look Again > Built For The Road Ahead > Bold Moves

There was a recent Automotive News article that mentioned a Ford exec using the line Red, White, and Bold...I'm afraid the new tagline is just the latest in agency suck up moves.

What's most annoying is this tagline doesn't even sound remotely true. Would anyone really describe Ford as bold? Is teaming up with Kelly Clarkson bold? Maybe, just possibly, they could have launched this tagline with the redesign of the latest Mustang since they took an American icon and totally redesigned it...but to use this line now?? It makes no sense to me. I'm sure there will be some media stunts to follow, but I think it's probably way too little way too late.

I was hoping to hold on to my Ford stock until it got back up to at least $10, but I think I might as well get out while I still can.

Posted by: Ford Stock Holder on May 3, 2006 2:18 PM

I agree with FordStockHolder on this one. The lack of differentiation is pathetic. Isn't that the first thing you learn in marketing 101? "Bold" doesn't tell anyone how the product will kick Toyota's ass...and definitely Kelly Clarkson is not kicking ass except for maybe those ahead of her in a buffett line. No Boundaries at least meant something. 4 taglines in 5 years...sort of the same with JWT's parade of office presidents.

Posted by: msuspartangurl on May 3, 2006 3:20 PM

Meaningless taglines should incur a heavy legal penalty.

In somewhere like Iran the marketing executives responsible would probably be stoned to death. Or have a wall collapsed on top of them.

Sounds harsh but at least it would stop them doing it again.

Posted by: The Scamp on May 4, 2006 5:33 AM

Put 'em on the Rack!

Posted by: msuspartangurl [TypeKey Profile Page] on May 4, 2006 8:45 PM

Meaningless tag lines are the life blood of Madison Avenue... Very, very few make sense... 'Cos they aren't meant to. Remember Cisco's "Empowering the Internet Generation" Or Sun's "We put the dot in dot com" done by the same stupid fucking agency that did a Dell campaign that basically said "Fuck the dot!" Or something equaly stupid. Anyway... What you have to realize with Ford is that this is JWT's and WPP's biggest global account - Even bigger than IBM. Whoever loses it will be racked, hung, drawn, quartered and crucified in the Poisoned Dwarf's basement. You don't take risks with shit like that... Which is why you do bland. Nothing changes. Shit expands to fill a vacuum!!!

Posted by: George Parker on May 6, 2006 5:42 PM

Every once in a while, a commercial(or series of commercials) comes along that actually angers me with it's nonsense. The McDonald's "Badapbapbapbaaaaah, I'm lovin it" commercials are extremely irritating, but Ford seems to be going above and beyond with it's "Bold Moves" commercials. What does a kid in a motorized wheelchair playing drums in a marching band have to do with "Bold Moves", and how does that relate to Ford's line of 2006 vehicles. I was actually in the market for a new car this Spring and took a look at some Fords. My height is 6'5", so I need a car with good head and leg room. Decent gas mileage was another consideration. I couldn't fit comfortably in their full size cars, and the gas mileage was not as good as most of the competition. I went across the street to the Volkswagen dealer and fit comfortably in every car(even the beetle). I decided to make a "Bold Move" and buy a VW. Now I see Taylor Hicks' mug on the cover of with the caption "Bold Wins". They are on crack if they think that "Soul Patrol" is going attract customers.

Posted by: Joe Patton on June 20, 2006 11:10 AM

Maybe you all spoke too soon.

Have you seen this:

whilst normally sceptical of these projects, I think it is - dare I say it - bold.

What do you think?

Posted by: George Nimeh on June 28, 2006 8:42 PM