'Bold Moves' Bullshit Begets "Ford. Drive One."


If there was ever a tagline shift from the nebulously ethereal do the blunt, "buy our shit now," it would be this new tagline from Ford, "Ford. Drive One." Is it possible a marketer has finally realized the purpose of advertising is to get people to buy stuff? Sadly, no. The new tagline was developed in meeting with car dealers who don't give a crap about how Cannes-worthy an ad is as long as it gets people into the dealership and cars off the lot. Who knew a great tagline could come from car dealers, purveyors of fine communication such as this disaster.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally put Group VP of Marketing Jim Farley, recently scooped from Toyota, on the job last fall and we're thinking the first stipulation he added to his employment contract was the ability to dump the "Bold Moves" tagline.

Of course, time will tell whether or not what appears to be a good tagline actually becomes one. If not, they can Farley could always go a bit further and institute "Ford. Buy One."

by Steve Hall    Mar-21-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Good, Opinion   

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The good people at Ford were obviously inspired by this piece in the Onion:


"Advertising. Look at it"

Posted by: Floyd Hayes on March 21, 2008 2:21 PM

I worked in auto dealerships for a while (even at a Ford store). I was always amazed at Ford's ad campaigns - they bore little resemblance to what actually motivated consumers to buy. Instead, they focused on either tricking customers (by advertising deals and discounts that were unrealistic), or branding their vehicles. Branding is important - I understand that - but it fails to sell cars. This new message speaks to the heart of Ford's problem - people cross them off the list before they ever walk in the door of their local Ford dealer. Perhaps this new tagline will work, but my feeling is that it still misses the mark.

Ford should focus on reinforcing their core message - quality, American built vehicles with a proud heritage and an affordable price. Ford should take the role of "underdog" and attack Toyota (the best whipping candidate) on the issues - price advantage, Ford's improving quality, Ford's environmental record when compared to Toyota, etc. Ford has nothing to lose by cleverly showing they're a smarter choice for a careful consumer (ala Hyundai's ads attacking Lexus and BMW with voiceover from Kelsey Grammer).

There's also the whole "feel good" angle of buying American that would thrive in this poor economy. I'm envisioning images of Ford factory workers saying "thank you America for helping me feed my family" or something. Powerful stuff that would give Ford emotional consideration during a consumer's buying process.

One other thing I discovered when I worked at car dealerships - advertising people know as much about selling cars as I know about botany. They (and you) never understood that half the battle with a good ad is getting noticed. Conservative messages and slick production "test well," but they have as much staying power as a cheap stick of gum. The Shmmom ad, while cheesy and dumb, was probably effective. In other words, car dealers, while not as sophisticated, are often much better at creating car ads than advertising people.

Posted by: Jason Lancaster on March 21, 2008 2:30 PM

It might be better to take an historical view, and realize that they've transitioned from "Have you driven a Ford lately?" to "Of course you've never driven a Ford. But hey, please do."

Posted by: Jessie Birks on March 21, 2008 2:52 PM

Oh, but the double entendre is brilliant! At least that's what the coywriter is telling itself.

Posted by: Tulgen on March 21, 2008 3:49 PM