Ford Takes the Gloves Off About the Bailouts

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber

Wow. I don’t know if Ford is broadcasting this particular commercial [Ed: They are, although possibly not in the Detroit area], but it’s part of a series of ads that Fred Goss directed for Company Productions. The ads were set up by recruiting recent Ford buyers to come in and answer some market research questions. Those Ford owners did not know that they would be walking into a press conference with, apparently, real journalists [Ed: Huh?] asking them about their purchase. Company Productions released a video on the making of the ads. In this particular case Ford got lucky when a F-150 owner named Chris sat behind the microphone. Answering a reporter’s question, “Was buying American important to you?” Chris came up with something that advertising copy writers dream of writing.

He took that softball question (Chris’ F-150 was parked next to the dias at the press conference. About 94% of full size pickup buyers buy American brands.) and hit it out of the park:

I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was going to buy it from a manufacturer that stands on their own, win lose or draw. That’s what America’s about, it’s taking the chance to succeed and understanding that when you fail you’ve got to pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me.

It seems to me that this is about as blunt as Ford has been on the topic of their domestic competitors’ bailouts and that it is the first time Ford has explicitly used GM and Chrysler’s bailouts as a marketing tactic. The ad hits so many notes and because it’s a real person, not an actor, it resonates well. I also think it’s interesting that Ford and their ad agency included Chris’ reference to Ford’s “fail” in the past. This is the first time that I can recall that any American car company has at least implicitly acknowledged in some kind of advertisement that their previous products were not great.

Ronnie Schreiber
Ronnie Schreiber

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, the original 3D car site.

More by Ronnie Schreiber

Join the conversation
2 of 70 comments
  • Mazder3 Mazder3 on Sep 18, 2011

    So when did off-road silvy get banned?

  • Safe as milk Safe as milk on Sep 21, 2011

    "This is the first time that I can recall that any American car company has at least implicitly acknowledged in some kind of advertisement that their previous products were not great." how 'bout the "have you driven a ford lately" tag line in the early 80's? it certainly implies a previous fail. also, the accuracy of the current campaign aside, it's in bad taste. not that bad taste ever hurt sales in the history of american hucksterism.

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.