By on April 26, 2007

07edgeccrossover.jpgIn 1997, Kiwi film director Lee Tamahori brought playwright David Mamet’s words to the silver screen in an Alec Baldwin/Anthony Hopkins vehicle called The Edge. Ten years later and David Mamet lensed an ad campaign for a crossover utility vehicle by the same name. Mamet’s trademark dialogue takes center stage, pitting the Blue Oval’s most important cute-ute against the upscale competition from Germany (BMW X5) for speed and Japan (Lexus RX350) for quietness. Does Mamet’s champion edge out its pricier rivals? Duh.

As the first ad’s fast-talking protagonists suggest, the Ford Edge is .2 seconds faster to 60mph than a BMW X5. And, as the same wisecracking thirty-somethings conclude in the second ad, internal Ford testing proved that the Edge’s interior is tighter lipped than the Lexus RX350.

True story? Not quite. In an echo of the Ford Fusion ads, where Car and Driver “helped” FoMoCo compare an all wheel-drive Fusion against a front wheel-drive Camry and Accord, The Glass House Gang has stacked the deck in their favor.

Mamet’s [not gay] guys could make their claim because the Ford vs. BMW drag race pitted the Edge SEL AWD– the optional four wheel-drive version– against BMW’s entry level all-wheel-drive 3.0si X5. In fact, the Edge AWD’s .2 second margin of victory is actually something of a coup for Germany; the least powerful X5 has 900 lbs. more SUV to lug and 25 ft.-lbs. less grunt with which to do it. 

As for quietness, listen closely. The ad’s characters say that the Edge is more silent than the Lexus in “a quiet test.” That’s “a” as in one test. While the Ford product has a lower decibel count at highway cruising speeds, the same can not be said about its NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) during acceleration or stop starting around town.

To paraphrase the original P.T. cruiser, you can fool some of the people all of the time but not Art Spinella. The president of CNW Marketing Research argues that the ads will be extremely effective at getting consumers’ attention, but not generating sales. “Nobody goes out and buys a Ford thinking they’re getting a BMW”. Nor should they; which raises another problem.

Anybody remember Lincoln? Hello? Lincoln is supposed to be Dearborn’s Bimmer beater, not the blue-collared Blue Oval. Lincoln’s website lists both the Lexus RX and BMW X5 as the MKX’ direct competitors. Unfortunately, Lincoln’s badge engineered Edge adds extra luxury, a.k.a. weight. Bottom line: the X5 3.0is hits sixty from rest 0.3 seconds faster than the Lincoln. 

According to Barry Engle, GM of Ford Division marketing, they compared the Edge to the X5 because buyers typically trade in bigger buck whips for Ford’s CUV. That’s an encouraging sign for Ford, but disheartening for FoMoCo. Mamet’s marketing mavens seem the have forgotten basic economics. When the corporate mothership is struggling to keep its head above water, the higher profit, lower volume brand is a more appropriate flotation device.

Truth be told, FoMoCo needs to start banking bucks, fast. Yesterday’s first quarter results indicate that Mulally’s minions are getting closer to meeting their metrics, but they’re so far not out of the woods that they’re still deep in them.  

Through March ‘07, the Blue Oval’s bean counters pocketed some $400m in NorAm cost savings– and still posted losses of $614m. Optimistic analysts will cite Ford’s reductions in staff, improved revenues and the successful jettison of PAG pieces (namely Aston Martin) and ACH (Automotive Components Holdings).

Realists will notice North American operations scuttled $172m more than last year and that revenues are already down $1.6b (from $19.8b to $18.2b). And there’s still a multitude of moribund metal littering over 4000 U.S. Ford dealer lots.

The Fusion/Milan/MKZ triplets and cute-ute crossover twins continue to be hot items, but the rest of the metal is actually repelling costumers. Ford can now lay claim to having the oldest fleet in the biz. The Powers at J.D. report that only four percent of Ford owners traded in their old whips for something new from Dearborn. Translation: Ford is still losing almost half of their already shrunken client base. The world’s new number one automaker– and many others– are stealing Ford’s customers. 

Industry analysts predict Ford’s April’s sales to sink again from last year. They expect the Big 2.5 to be hit hardest.  Continued construction slowdowns are eroding truck sales quicker than California’s sedimentary cliffs.

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67 Comments on “Ford Death Watch 31: David Mamet’s Hair Splitting TV Ads Miss Their Mark...”


  • avatar
    Alex Rashev

    Is this what they teach in marketing schools these days? “How to TRICK a customer into buying your product”.

    Ford should learn from companies like VW – mediocre overpriced product, but they’re still doing alright thanks to proper marketing.

  • avatar
    BostonTeaParty

    0-60 is fairly irrelevant these days, who wants to drag strip and burn 3 bucks of gas (and it will get more expensive) at the green light, more importantly why drag race an edge….?
    how did they compare accelerating from say 50-70 or 60-80mph?

  • avatar
    nweaver

    Bah, my daily commuter goes 0-60 in 45 MPG.

    If you want to drag race, get a motorcycle, not a SUV

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    Huyndai is employing the same strategy – pitting their Sonatas & SUVs against the BMW 5-series & Lexus RXs – but it seems to be more sucessful. Rather than fighting a losing battle with the Camcordima (at roughly the same pricepoint), Huyndai decides to pit its Sonatas against the weakest 220-hp heavy 5-series (for HP comparison) and Lexus ES350 (for equipment).

    The objective, of course, is not to steal away potential Bimmer and Lexus buyers – these customers know better. Rather, instead of presenting Joe Buyer with $25k to spend a choice between Sonata and (only $2-4K more expenssive) Camcordima and effectively send Joe to the nearby Honda or Toyota dealership, Huyndai is trying to tell Joe that he can have all the features and grunt of a 5-series or Lexus that his boss just bought, but still able to keep $20k (which he does not have anyway!) in his home equity. The object is to build new loyalties and get the attention of fresh new buyers (rather than devoted Camcordima buyers or Bimmer snobs).

    What Huyndai has – and Ford lacks – to make this ad strategy a success is the reliability reputation and goodwill (along with 10yr/100k warranty) that Huyndai had built in the last decade or so. [Remember, Huyndai was trass in the 80’s and early 90’s, but recent quality surveys put it behind only Honda and Toyota, and ahead of Nissan, other Japanese cars, and the domestics.]

    Build a reliable, affordable car first, and the subsequent ads (even wishful thinking) is be more believable. Consumers will not buy the hype from a simple commercial, but may do so if that commercial is coupled with years of good quality and goodwill. Afterall, wasn’t that the recipe for success employed by Honda and Toyota in the 70’s through 90’s?

    Ford has a long way to go before it can reclaim the “Edge”!

  • avatar
    shabster

    Interesting article.

    However, as a consumer I’m not sure that I should be shocked that a manufacturer would advertise their product using scenarios that shine the best light on their product.

    I don’t expect Ford to highlight the competition’s strengths in their advertising.

    That being said, I’m not going to purchase or lease any Ford products, but that’s ’cause I don’t feel they have the quality of Japanese autos.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/22/MTG96PCUO41.DTL

    (Ignore some typos in my prior post.)

    To further the comparison, compare the recent Huyndai SUV (reviewed here, ) with the Ford Edge SEL AWD plus. Comparably equipped, the Huyandai costs only about $3-4k more. Tell me if anyone would pick the Edge over the Huyndai.

  • avatar
    86er

    In Canada we have Kiefer Sutherland doing the voice-overs for all Ford of Canada TV ads.

    No word on if Jack Bauer has “persuaded” anyone into a Blue Oval because of this, but the man does do a good voice-over, much like his father.

  • avatar
    tony-e30

    TeeKay is right, though as a self proclaimed “Bimmer Snob” I resent the moniker as presented.
    Shoppers looking at a BMW or Lexus aren’t going to have a revelation at their Ford dealers, rather 2.5, Camcordia, and Hyundai buyers will.
    In theory.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “Is this what they teach in marketing schools these days? “How to TRICK a customer into buying your product”.”

    When you need to place your Legal Department in charge of Marketing…Might just as well stay home and watch F-Troop reruns.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Anyone who believes the claims in advertising 100% is not a savvy customer. It’s advertising/marketing not the truth. When do advertisers ever tell you the whole truth about a car when comparing it to the competition?

    Regardless the Ford and Hyundai ads are worthless. No one is going to cross shop the models or brands so all Ford and Hyundai have done is to make people who already are looking at their products or have already purchased them a warm and fuzzy.

  • avatar
    Matthew Neundorf

    Carguy

    The Edge is a success, no doubt. My concern is that FoMoCo marketing management is cannibalising a more profitable, direct competitor. The smart money would have been on the MKX.

  • avatar
    pete

    carguy says Edges are selling very well. I must be living in a singularity – I’ve still only seen two!

    Are they selling well? Stats anyone?

  • avatar
    dean

    I’ve yet to see an Edge on the road, and I live in a city with a metro population of 2 million. I’ve already seen several Acura RDX though.

    Not a good sign for Ford in these parts.

  • avatar
    FreeMan

    “a multitude of moribund metal”

    Priceless writing! Thanks again TTAC!

  • avatar
    umterp85

    I can tall all that I recently traded in my 2001 BMW X5 for a Lincoln MKX—-and have not experienced even one minute of regret.

    Sure the steering and braking are better on the BMW (this is their hallmark after all)but not nearly enough to make up for the overall ride, comfort, assembly quality, and cool amenities that the Lincoln MKX offers…it is simply a fanatstic vehicle. BTW—-no discernable difference in acceleration between the Lincoln and the X5.

    I can tell all that X5 was a POS—-will not even go through the list of problems I had with it—-suffice it to say though that I knew my BMW service advisor by name. Still boggles my mind that most are willing to give the Euro makes a relative free pass on reliability and nail the US automakers to the wall….must be a badge thing.

  • avatar

    pete: carguy says Edges are selling very well. I must be living in a singularity – I’ve still only seen two! Are they selling well? Stats anyone? Edge sales have gone up each month this year: Jan; 5,586 Feb: 7,977 Mar: 10,915 Whether or not 24,478 units sold in three months can be termed a "selling well" is open to interpretation. Ford sold 10K more Explorers and 15K more Escapes than Edges in the same period.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Here is an Autoblog article that quotes the Detroit Free Press http://www.autoblog.com/2007/04/09/ford-edge-sales-gain-momentum/

    It appears that the current average transaction price is around $30K and that sales numbers are within a 1000 units of the Toyota Highlander.

    I’m all for criticizing Ford where criticism is due (and there are no shortages of where that is the case) but the Fusion is not one of them.

  • avatar

    carguy:
    Here is an Autoblog article that quotes the Detroit Free Press http://www.autoblog.com/2007/04/09/ford-edge-sales-gain-momentum/

    It appears that the current average transaction price is around $30K and that sales numbers are within a 1000 units of the Toyota Highlander

    I don’t know about April’s numbers, or where Freep got 1000-unit difference they’re citing, but for the same Jan-Mar period cited above Toyota sold 31,383 Highlanders.

    I’m all for criticizing Ford where criticism is due … but the Fusion is not one of them.

    Um… I thought we were talking about the Edge.

  • avatar
    pete

    Thanks for the stats. I haven’t forgiven Ford for two broken transmissions under 80k miles so I’m not going to think about an Edge. However, at least the styling isn’t offensive…

    …I did give a wry laugh when I first saw the ads though – a pretty disingenuous comparison with quite different brands. I still wonder why they’re out at night – perhaps Ford paint comes off in strong sunlight. Perhaps being in the dark is a metaphor for the disingenuous comparison…?

    Pete
    (BMW snob who drives an E46)

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    Steve says: “No one is going to cross shop the models or brands so all Ford and Hyundai have done is to make people who already are looking at their products or have already purchased them a warm and fuzzy.”

    From the Autoblog article referenced: “Ford is also using the Edge to help stop Explorer, Expedition, and Escape owners from leaving the Ford brand, with 25% of its sales coming from its own SUVs.”
    For Ford these days, keeping existing customers happy and remaining within the brand is probably the best thing that it could strive for. As long as the Ad can accomplish that much, it’s probably a success.

    It seems that the Edge is doing well for Ford so far. Perhaps, this is a first step toward recovery and backing off from bankruptcy. I simply cannot imagine an automotive landscape without Ford.

    For what it’s worth, I am a bimmer snob (new e46 M3, which had visited the dealership more times than I would like) who owns a FoMoCo product – actually, a ’95 Miata, so just a year prior to the Ford part ownership :)

  • avatar
    tcwarnke

    are people shopping for an X5 or RX350 really looking at an edge also???

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    When I saw the Hyundai commercials, I read the tone as “we make a less expensive vehicle with similar features,” whereas Ford’s tone is, “We’re better than BMW.” Hyundai has always been an underdog and still knows that it is. Ford (like GM) presents an underlying attitude that they are superior to everything. That’s why I roll my eyes and tune out the Ford commercials, while I almost chuckle at the Hyundai ones. Of course Hyundais are inferior to BMWs in most aspects. But hey, in addition to the huge money they save, at least Hyundai buyers won’t have to spend as much time at the shop as Ford or BMW owners will.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Whats truly sad about this campaign is that they chose to compare the Edge with the X5 which is actually significantly more expensive than the Edge but not truly in the same segment, all the while leaving the X3 which costs ~ $2K more than a loaded Edge unmentioned. What happens when a potential Ford customer checks out BMW’s site to verify the stats and notices he/she can have the Bimmer and 50K free maintenance for nearly the same price with even better performance?

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Reminds me of a vintage ad for my first car, a ’65 Ford Galaxie:

    “Ford quieter than a Rolls Royce? Dammit Sir, those upstart American car-makers don’t know their place. “

    Don’t know how the ’65 Galaxie beat the Rolls in a quiet test, but I heard they used the same Rolls for comparison in the next 7-ish years of ads/testing.

    I guess if its enough to pique the curiosity of your average buyer, that’s good enough…for yesterday and today’s market.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    guyincognito: 2 points First, I think Matthew brings up a fair point that the MKX would have been the better comparison—for a variety of reasons. Second, while you bring up a fair point about the Edge v. X5 comparo driving consumers to the X3, a  bare bones X3 costs $2K more than the EDGE . Typically equiped, you are looking at $5-7k more. Again the MKX may be the better comparo.

  • avatar
    NickR

    What would be great is if Ford’s advertising agency could state unequivocally ‘Best mileage, city or highway, of any vehicle in it’s class, regardless of price’. Now that the consensus among energy analysts is that gas will pass $4/gallon, that’s a pitch that might get a few ears to perk up.

    As other poster’s have mentioned, focussing on these two things smacks of desperation (kind of like the Buick adds focussing on heated windshield wiper fluid).

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    A comparable X3 may cost 5-7K more than an MKX, but what will the TCO be after 3 years? How much will the MKX be worth then, maybe 50% if not less? The X3? As a new car, one would be a fool not to purchase the X3. As a used car, however, the MKX smacks of value.

    Edit: BTW, I found the X3 to be about $3K more than a comparable MKX.

  • avatar
    Paul Milenkovic

    Excuse my ignorance, but what is the difference between the Escape and the Edge — why two products?

    My copy of Ford World Magazine seems to suggest Escape is sold to target-customer Phil and the Edge is marketed to target-customer Greg (or was it Jason and his wife Samantha — don’t remember).

    Apart from the Escape is a Mondeo CUV and the Edge is a Mazda 6 CUV and the Edge has the Duratec 3.5, is there much difference in specs between the two or is it marketing hype? If the Edge is a lot better than an Escape, why the Escape?

  • avatar
    umterp85

    to boredlawstudent: Call me a fool…but my new car purchase decision is based more than supposed 3-5 year residual values. For me…flat out the MKX is better than the X3. And…based on on my horrid X5 reliability experience…I will be better off. 

  • avatar
    pete

    ….and you went to Ford for reliability??????

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    “Mamet’s [not gay] guys”

    what exactly is THAT supposed to mean?

  • avatar

    jerseydevil:

    I believe Mr. Neundorf is pointing out that there’s a bit of a gay subtext to Mr. Mamet’s ad, which I noticed as well.

    Not in any pejorative sense. Just in passing.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    umterp:

    The Bimmer’s reliability may not be perfect but atleast you get a longer warranty, decent dealer experience (atleast from what my friends tell me), 50K of free maintenance, and a BMW ;)

    Had you chosen a RX350, I’d understand, but a Ford?

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    hey and you know if you load all your friends into your X5, you can beat a bike round the Nurburgring…….

  • avatar
    kjc117

    So, if EDGE and FUSION are hot sellers and JD Power is stating only 4% are repeat FORD buyers and their market share is shrinking then who is buying these models?

    I live in the midwest and I do not see a lot of EDGE’S and FUSION’S on the road.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    I’ve yet to see an Edge or MKX in SUV-crazed So. Fl. I see a Fusion about once every 2 weeks.

  • avatar
    kaisen

    I think the comparisons to the RX350 and X5 are more an issue of aspirational appeal than true comparitive choice. For those inclined to buy an Edge it would be cool knowing it were as quick or quiet as a much more expensive inaccessible vehicle. I think it’s decent marketing.

    As for trickery, I’m not so sure. In the specific claims Ford is making, they are not lying. Toyota’s advertising is the same right now, and truck numbers are always so specific as to be almost misleading (longest lasting? most dependable? even best selling)

    I find the Edge/MKX to be a decent vehicle (but not a standout) for the genre and price-point. The lack of third row seating rules it out for me.

  • avatar

    kaisen:

    I am amazed (though not amused) that you are willing to overlook a blatant and cynical distortion of the truth for commercial ends.

    If FoMoCo is willing to resort to misleading advertising to sell its products, then there is something fundamentally wrong with Ford.

    And yes, if Toyota is guilty of the same reprehensible behavior, they too deserve scorn.

    The truth hurts, but lies are worse.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I can remember when directly knocking a competing brand was in poor taste. Most advertisements of the day showcased product features or feel-good intangibles, like the famous Dinah Shore See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet commercial.

    Shore pioneered the prime-time The Dinah Shore Chevy Show starting October 1956 and running until 1963. Dinah helped make the low-priced Chevrolet the most widely sold car to that point in history.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGZvQoPxhNs

  • avatar
    kaisen

    Robert-

    What were the lies again? I re-read the article and see no accusations of a lie. Ford claims they are quicker, they are. Ford claims they are quieter in a specific test, they are.

    Again, no different than saying longest lasting, best fuel economy, best selling, or another adjective and measurement. They are ALWAYS qualified in some way. If not, there would almost always be a different metric that could contradict the statement.

    Toyota, GM, Ford, and others are all ‘guilty’ of making advertising statements that are specifically true but generally misleading.

    Same with toothpaste, soap, and ab machines.

  • avatar

    Alex Rashev said:

    “Is this what they teach in marketing schools these days? ‘How to TRICK a customer into buying your product.’”

    Dude, where you been? That’s always been what marketing wonks are all about. Take it from me; I is one.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    A reread of this article and I find the main points less convincing. Isn’t BMW more at “fault” for selling a $50K 5,000 lb SUV powered by 225lbs of twist then Ford is for merely pointing out the obvious?

  • avatar

    kaisen:

    So you want to debate the difference between an intentional distortion of the truth and an outright lie?

    I think I’ll pass on that one.

  • avatar
    50merc

    I’m confident Ford and/or the ad agency got the specific language OK’d by lawyers. Now, some may think the ads imply overall superiority–a dubious proposition–but they don’t say that explicitly. It’s like those “no aspirin works better than XYZ aspirin!” (Correct–because aspirin is aspirin.) And as I recall from my long-ago business law class, a seller is “allowed to puff his wares.” (Think of those extravagant blurbs in movie posters or book jackets.) Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.
    For me the real question is: Was Mamet worth the price, which we can safely assume was huge? My guess is that most viewers have a hard time understanding these “arty” ads, in sharp contrast to the clear and direct Hyundai ads. Don’t bother to ask the ad agency if the commercials boost Edge sales; producing ads is the most lucrative part of their business, and the more costly, the better.

  • avatar
    Tedd

    The article's revelation that qualified truths and non direct competitive vehicles comparisons are being used to shill a product is such a non-issue. It's a common practice. Further, isn't the article's claim that "only four percent of Ford owners traded in their old whips for something new from Dearborn" completely wrong? Didn't Steven Lang pen an article here stating that according to JD Powers, Ford's customer retention is somewhat more than 50%? And the X5 is not 900 LB. heavier than the Edge… it's 765 lb. heavier.

  • avatar

    as i don’t watch the glass eye, i’ll not see the mamet adverts. but i read magazines and the ridiculous two page glossy colour spreads for the edge – couple walking on the boardwalk and an edge balanced on the guardrail like some jalopnik hoon – are enough to make me vomit. they certainly encourage me to avoid the blue oval’s dealers like the plague.

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    Why not debate “the difference between an intentional distortion of the truth and an outright lie?” Parsing these differences is “de rigueur” when discussing “the truth.”

    At any rate, if I buy a Ford Edge based on an advertisement and then find out later that it actually is NOT quieter than a Lexus, do I have a reasonable beef with Ford?

    Who isn’t going to wonder why I didn’t at least test-drive a Lexus if I was worried about something like that?

    Who doesn’t know that Lexus makes better cars than Ford?

    Who doesn’t know that Ford is in deep s—t, so watch your step?

    If you don’t know those things, would you really care about interior noise in the first place?

    Such strident criticism of Ford smacks of a “glass house,” and not the one in Dee-troit.

  • avatar

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  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    I don't think Ford's exaggerating the qualities of the Edge is that big a deal. Try to find an advertiser that doesn't use hyperbole, slanted comparisons, exaggeration and other tools of the trade. It's an accepted art form in advertising. On the other hand his point of only 4% of owners purchasing a replacement Ford is something that should deeply concern Ford. This is not sustainable for Ford's survival.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    boredlawstudent says….
    The Bimmer’s reliability may not be perfect but atleast you get a longer warranty, decent dealer experience (atleast from what my friends tell me), 50K of free maintenance, and a BMW ;)

    Had you chosen a RX350, I’d understand, but a Ford?

    First, if recent Ford / Lincoln launches like the Fusion / MKZ are any reliability indicator…I’ll take my chances on the the Lincoln MKX.

    Second, I did get a better warranty from Lincoln against my new MKX vs my old X5. 4 years /50K bumper to bumper (Same as BMW) + 7 years/ 70K powertrain (better than BMW)

    Third, according to JD Powers…the Lincoln dealership experience is superior to BMW.

    Last, My BMW reliability experience is FAR from perfect. X5 visited dealership on average once every 8 weeks for a variety of problems. My ’99 325 stranded me on the Penna Turnpike with a blown water pump at 45K miles.

    Net, while I do not have the “BMW badge” anymore—I am quite confident that I am driving a superior vehicle in the Lincoln MKX.

    BTW—-I would not even think of being a Lexus Lemming—-RX 350 is booooorrrrinnnnnggg

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I guess my only issue with the ads is that they aren’t all that interesting. I expected something with a bit more drama from someone of Mamet’s caliber.

    At least they dropped that song…”I like to live on the Ayyyyedge doo doo doo”

  • avatar
    jdv

    Ford isn’t issuing an outright lie. How ridiculous!

    Ford’s ad is in the exact same flavor as the new Tundra ads. Toyota picks a very specific narrow category, and uses that to highlight themselves against a competitor. But then that competitor could pick a specific narrow category and highlight themselves against Toyota. That is marketing, and you see it everywhere.

    I guess I don’t understand how this is an issue worth an editorial…

  • avatar

    I am not a big fan of moral relativism. Just because stretching the truth may be (is) accepted industry practice doesn't make it right. C'mon, isn't there something Ford can sell about the Edge that doesn't need a damn asterisk? Let me try to put this as simply as possible: I hate weasel words.

  • avatar
    Matthew Neundorf

    The American Advertising Federation lists the advertising ethics and principles on their website:

    Truth;
    Advertising shall tell the truth, and shall reveal significant facts, the omission of which would mislead the public.
    Substantiation;
    Advertising claims shall be substantiated by evidence in possession of the advertiser and advertising agency, prior to making such claims
    Comparisons;
    Advertising shall refrain from making false, misleading, or unsubstantiated statements or claims about a competitor or his/her products or services.

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    This editorial highlights a problem (at least in my opinion) that is rampant througout the advertising industry. Weasel words, indeed.

    When I see these types of commercials I start to think that their goal is to try to plant the seed of “reasonable doubt” to knock the benchmark off it’s perch…

  • avatar
    umterp85

    RF “Let me try to put this as simply as possible: I hate weasel words”

    Could not agree more with your statement.

    Accordingly, I think this sets up a larger editorial on the entire Auto industry practice related to possibile misleading ads; I hope this would inlcude other manufacturers besides Ford. An example could be JDV’s idea to include the misleading Toyota Tundra ads.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I must be getting old, because I already saw this movie in the 1970s. Ford shamelessly pitched the Granada as being comparable to a Mercedes Benz at a fraction of the cost. Folks have reproduced some of the old ads here:

    http://jalopnik.com/assets/resources/2007/02/Granada_vs_Mercedes_Ad.jpg

    http://i3.ebayimg.com/04/i/07/87/c3/e0_1_b.JPG

    Ford USA is now a pretty good truck company which also makes a few OK cars. It isn’t even a very interesting company to follow or care about anymore.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    David Mamet doing Ford commercials is as much the story here as the vehicles themselves. Is the celebrated writer of “Glengary Glenn Ross” that hard up for buck? Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with doing a commercial for any auto manufacturer. But it does seem like a comedown; although he probably got a hefty check for his work.

    As to the assertion that no one would buy a Ford when they wanted a BMW, that assumes a level of product knowledge and sophistication that may indeed be lacking in the upwardly mobile young turks both companies lust after – speaking figuratively here. (Given that the words “not gay” were in parenthesis after David Mamet’s name in the editorial itself, don’t want to confuse anyone.) True enough, that the readers of TTAC may discern the difference between the base and V8-powered X5, as well as all-wheel and front-wheel drive.

    But the key line in a commercial becomes like the lie in that old saying: once repeated enough, it seems to be true. And if this one works, maybe just enough cubicle-dwellers seeking street cred will buy an Edge, instead of a BMW, to move Ford into the black – for at least a few more quarters.

    But then again, I could be wrong.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to umterp85:

    BTW—-I would not even think of being a Lexus Lemming—-RX 350 is booooorrrrinnnnnggg

    LOL, reliable = boring, when fun = fixing your own car, or flirting with the lady at the repair shop 3 days a week, or having to buy a Ford. Not my type of fun anyway.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    There was a time when directly knocking a competing brand was in poor taste. Most advertisements of the day showcased product features or feel-good intangibles, including the famous Dinah Shore See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet commercial.

    Shore pioneered the prime-time Dinah Shore Chevy Show starting October 1951 and running until 1963. Dinah helped make the low-priced Chevrolet the most widely sold car to that time.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Replying To WSN:

    “LOL, reliable = boring, when fun = fixing your own car, or flirting with the lady at the repair shop 3 days a week, or having to buy a Ford. Not my type of fun anyway”

    Not real sure what your point is.

    Thta said, the fact of the matter is that Ford’s recent launches have yielded very good quality and reliability; check the Fusion and Lincoln mkZ. Based on my initial expereice with the Lincoln mkX (outstanding build quality)…I am betting the Edge / mkX will follow suit. I didn’t even have to be pursuaded to purchase by so-called misleading ads !

    Conversely, recent Toyota launches including thee Avalon and Camry have yielded “un-Toyota like” design and engineering issues—-the number of launch year TSB’s issued on these cars is astonishing for Toyota (n=11 for Avalon—n=12 for Camry). I am not saying these are unreliable cars (they in fact are not), but I do believe they are boring (like most other Toyota products including Lexus) and offer little in terms reliability advantage.

    Said another way—-why should I settle for a boring car when I can buy one that has style and the high potential for similar reliability ? (btw I trade every 4 years…so no need to throw in the obligatory Toyota 10 year / 100K reliability disclaimer)

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    Isn’t reliability the measurment of quality over the long term? How can one say that recent Ford releases are reliable when many of them on the road have yet to hit 30K miles? I for one will wait at least a few years before I pass judgment. With recent Hyundai’s we don’t know this either, but the 10/100 warranty makes me feel a little more comfortable knowing their engineers (and bean counters) think the car is worthy of that mileage.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    …. high potential for similar reliability ? (btw I trade every 4 years ….

    Most new cars have few problems in the first 3-4 years, but after that my experience is that some cars continue to be trouble free while others start to extract time and money from the owner’s pocket on a regular basis.

    For the person who buys new every 4 years this isn’t a direct issue, but it does show up in the resale value at trade-in time. If history is any guide, the Honda or Toyota is going to be worth considerably more at the 4 year mark than is anything from Ford, GM or Chrysler. This reflects the different expectations of the second buyer of your once new car.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Reply to J Thorner:

    Very good points…well thought out response. That said, while I may take a little hit on depreciation with my Lincoln mkX vs. the RX 350…aggressive pricing by Lincoln ($3-4000 less than similar equiped RX) takes a good portion of depreciation bite away.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    I may take a little hit on depreciation with my Lincoln mkX vs. the RX 350…aggressive pricing by Lincoln ($3-4000 less than similar equiped RX) takes a good portion of depreciation bite away.

    That’s of course assuming the Lincoln is as good a car as the Lexus. I’ll leave it up to the marketplace to ultimately decide. If in one year’s time, MKX’s and Edge’s are selling for substantially under MSRP (a la Freestar, Explorer, Expedition, etc), i’ll think we’ll know the winner.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    To boredlawstudent:

    “That’s of course assuming the Lincoln is as good a car as the Lexus. I’ll leave it up to the marketplace to ultimately decide”

    There is only one marketplace that counts when deciding if the Lincoln mkX is better than Lexus RX—–me. I could care less what others think is better—mine is the only opinion that counts as I am making the purchase decision.

  • avatar
    vento97

    BTW—-I would not even think of being a Lexus Lemming—-RX 350 is booooorrrrinnnnnggg

    I would not think of being an SUV Lemming. With gas prices at their current levels, SUVs are gradually becoming a gas-guzzling caricature – a cruel joke, if you will.

    Every time I see a driver in one of these vehicles, I just look at them, shake my head, and laugh my ass off.

    And don’t get me started on the me-too hybrid drivers – especially the ones who traded their gas-guzzling behemoth for a hybrid – and have the nerve to claim they did it for the “sake of the environment”. I guess “image” didn’t have anything to do with it, either…(hypocrites).

    With the exception of a 1978 Datsun 280z (I owned years ago) – every car that I’ve owned and currently owned have 4-cylinder engines – so at least I’ve been consistent…

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