Ford Launches Reality TV Show To Promote Escape
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”.
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 [s]charlatans[/s] social media and other nebulous “creative class” types?
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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