Ford Launches Reality TV Show To Promote Escape

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Ford is launching a reality TV show dubbed *groan* Escape Routes, which will run for 6 weeks on NBC’s 8 P.M. Saturday night slot and on mun2 (a Hispanic network) at 11 P.M, starting on March 31st. Participants will ostensibly drive around in the 2013 Escape as overly dramatic music and poorly scripted lines spew forth. As if the concept weren’t nauseating enough, participants on the show will apparently interact with fans of the show online to “tap into the fabric of the local culture”.

Ford’s previous campaigns, like the Fiesta Movement and the Focus Rally, were touted by a number of maladroit geeks social media experts, but for all the millions of” impressions” generated by the Fiesta Movement, for example, the Fiesta’s tenure in America hasn’t been the most stable. Sales were up in 2011, but Ford’s supply of the car was said to be 126 days at the end of the year. As for March 1st, Ford had an 82 day supply of Fiestas, but as of February 1st, it was still at 127.

The issue with campaigns like Escape Routes is that they have the potential to seem contrived, cheesy and worst of all today – inauthentic. One has to wonder what kind of ROI Ford expects with these sorts of campaigns. The Fiesta was an all-new product competing in a relatively immature segment in our market. But the Escape is a strong seller even after retaining the same design and packaging over the last geological era. There is significant brand equity with the nameplate even if the car is completely different. This TV show can’t be cheap to produce, and one has to wonder if A) people are really going to tune into this program B) if the show will be discovered as a giant marketing exercise by Ford C) if there will be a backlash against such an invasive marketing effort.

As optimistic as I am about the new Escape, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the whole notion of a derivative rally program designed to promote a new car that in all likelihood can stand on its own merits as an American-made, fuel-efficient SUV/CUV that has some very advanced technology. Is such a well, goofy, marketing strategy really necessary, or is Ford simply lost in another bout of navel-gazing, egged on by charlatans social media and other nebulous “creative class” types?

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Mar 10, 2012

    Let's see-- two guys touring from sea to shining sea in a charismatic car. That's been done before, and done right. Remember Todd, Buzz and their Corvette, on Route 66? I've been enjoying episodes of this old TV series on Netflix. It's a fascinating look at America a half-century ago. It's the only dramatic series shot entirely on location, not on soundstages, so the B&W images have a documentary feel. The boys take odd jobs in town after town, so you see glimpses of factories, farms, fishing boats and the like. It's thought-provoking just to consider the premise that everywhere they go, in the early '60s, there's an available job waiting! The writing team traveled several days ahead of the cast and crew. They'd cook up a story on the spot, write a script and film it in a week's time, then move on. Route 66 stories were mysteries, usually involving a dame in distress or a shame from the past. Fistfights were frequent, but so was real tension and humanity. However "Escape Routes" turns out, "Route 66" is worth a second look.

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    • Shaker Shaker on Mar 11, 2012

      @ClutchCarGo Yes, a great theme (thanks for the link). Maybe it's just me, but the opening theme to "The Simpsons" contains a little (slightly off-key) snippet of that theme - it struck that "Where have I heard that before?" chord with me more than once.

  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Mar 10, 2012

    Not to be confused with Bobby Troup's hit, urging all to "get your kicks on Route 66." Little of the show was actually filmed along Route 66, but they went everywhere else.

  • ChristianWimmer The interior might be well-made, but the design is just hideous in my opinion. It’s to busy and there’s no simplistic harmony visible in it. In fact I feel that the nicest Lexus interior ever could be found in the original LS400 - because it was rather minimalistic, had pleasing lines and didn’t try to hard. It looked just right. All Lexus interiors which came after it just had bizarre styling cues and “tried to hard” if you know what I mean.
  • THX1136 As a couple of folks have mentioned wasn't this an issue with the DeLorean? I seem to recall that it was claimed you could do a 'minor' buff of the surface and it would be good as new. Guess I don't see why it's a big deal if it can be so easily rectified. Won't be any different than getting out and waxing the car every so often - part of ownership, eh.
  • ToolGuy This kind of thing might be interesting in a racing simulator.
  • FreedMike Hmmm, electric powered vibrations. Is this the long rumored move into products market?
  • MrIcky /Checks date on his calendar- nope, not April 1st.I have a transducer in my home theater seat for sub-bass. Not sure if this is patent worthy.