By on May 16, 2012

Even as GM abandons Facebook advertising because of a poor ROI, Ford is going full steam ahead with Facebook spending and including more “sponsored stories” – i.e. cheesy advertorial content – as part of their “accelerated” spending. The problem is that it doesn’t work.

Ford’s social media head Scott Monty told Automotive News

“We’ve found that Facebook ads are very effective, and they’re most effective when we strategically combine them with great content and innovative forms of storytelling rather than a straight media buy,”

As we’ve seen with Ford before, lots of clicks, likes and other vague metrics under the vague “impressions” umbrella end up doing dick all to actually sell your product. The only Fiesta Movement occurring is a downward trend in sales, while the Focus lags behind Corolla, Cruze and Civic in its own segment.

In 2009, Jalopnik nailed it when it asked if all of Ford’s resources spent on social media and their SM guru Scott Monty really helped sell any cars.

I’d wager that based on the piss-poor numbers for Facebook ad click rates, the ability for internet-savvy users to block out advertising and the overall cynicism of consumers for even the most elaborate, narrative-driven advertising, that Ford is mis-allocating their ad dollars on Facebook, and with canned-advertorial reality shows like what were they thinking Escape Routes, a new reality show designed to promote the 2013 Escape.  Who in their right mind is going to spend half an hour watching this show? Take that money and find a way to go to every supermarket in areas where a small crossover is in demand (hint, they have Obama-Biden stickers on their CR-Vs) and let them know what you can open the tailgate by sweeping your foot under the bumper. More likely, it seems that these initiatives, undertaken by a number of OEMs beyond Ford, are what Ray Wert described as

“…another example of the dark side of “social media” — the masturbatory echo chamber re-twitting the same tweets …of the same piece of garbage over and over again to the same social media “gurus.”

Let’s go back to the Fiesta. Sales are in the toilet. Yet Ford seems enthralled with their apparently cutting edge marketing scheme that got 3.4 million Twitter “impressions” and 6.5 million collective Youtube views between the 700 videos produced by their team of 100 agents. To put that in perspective, a friend of mine directed a video for a B-List rapper who was a one-hit viral video wonder and it currently has 34 million views with basically zero promotional budget. By comparison, the number of views for the Fiesta Movement videos is laughable.

Any success that comes from Ford’s latest products will be in spite of whatever social media campaigns they end up running. Nothing short of shrewd product placement or simply having your vehicle out on the street will be truly effective in promoting the new Escape, or Fusion or any car really. A 110 x 100 pixel ad featuring a thumbnail image of a car and 90 characters of text isn’t going to snare anyone in, no matter how gripping the “story” about the car may be. Leaving a 2013 Fusion parked in a prime spot somewhere downtown and letting pedestrians do a double take to stop and look at “that four-door Aston…no, wait, it’s a Ford” costs $15 in parking fees and is sure to get them talking. Even if they don’t like cars, they know someone who does, and they will ask about “that new car I saw on the street”. I can tell you anecdotally that it happens all the time. It’s not worth much, but it’s worth more than a few million “impressions”.


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66 Comments on “Ford Ramps Up Facebook Ads In An Effort To Be “Social”, BUYS ALL THE AD SPACE...”

  • avatar

    Click derived advertisements on Facebook or wherever else are easy to measure in terms of ‘volume,’ yet nearly impossible to analyze in terms of effectiveness.

    Having said that, it’s my experience (and I observe the same thing about people I know or speak to regarding this subject) that online advertising is given FAR LESS attention than even physical junk mail that arrives via one’s physical mailbox (where one at least has to throw the mail in the garbage can).

    People want to surf the web and if they don’t have popup ad blockers enabled (and noscript, etc.), they simply click ignore the ads or click the little x to make them disappear.

    On a related note, I’ve never joined Facebook, as I find the level of discourse posted on most facebook pages about as interesting as a low-tiered reality show, and have noticed that amongst even the most dramatic demographic of teens (and especially teen girls – my nieces included), even they seem to be growing less interested in facebook and similar means of expression (in other words, it’s begun to fade itself, and a counter-facebook culture seems to be emerging).

    For the grown ups in the know, we have always been leery of facebook and other media as they are essentially massive data mining projects with the ability to pierce all privacy rights with by requiring potential ‘signer uppers’ to dispense with such rights before they can join, and in clicking the “I understand facebook can now harvest, mine, store, share and sell my personal information blah blah” boilerplate tab (rather than read the whole 78 page legal document that the disclaimer annotates, which is way too long and complicated for 99.999% of the human race).

    Long story short: GM is correct, and Ford appears to want to attempt to remain relevant by riding an already peaked and fading technological trend wave.

    Does anyone really believe that online advertising is effective to any miniscule degree?

    And the cherry (bitter one) on tip:

    Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

    Zuck: Just ask.

    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

    [Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

    Zuck: People just submitted it.

    Zuck: I don’t know why.

    Zuck: They “trust me”

    Zuck: Dumb fucks.

  • avatar

    Maybe someone told Ford that boobies don’t sell enough cars to women, and this social media blitz is the resulting over-compensation by desperate/naive male marketers to reach those same women?

    • 0 avatar

      A bit anti-Ford out here eh? Fiesta sales are strong, not sure where you’re getting your information from. Care to provide some references to go with that fallacy?

      Also, your blatant negative comments about the 2012 Focus are, well, blatantly wrong. I own a Titanium, the DCT is awesome and so is MFT. However, my car was manufactured in February of this year and came fully updated. Granted, earlier models had some technical difficulties but it would seem that your information is now out of date.

  • avatar

    Getting people into the showroom, or other “hands on” experiences with a vehicle are the only real way to generate sales. FB stats are nice for the Marketing Dept.’s ego, but beyond that nearly worthless in terms of actual sale leads.

  • avatar

    Killing pop-ups and ignoring advertising is just second nature when on the internet. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, being 31, but I’m pretty good at ignoring all forms of advertising; junk mail, spam, commercials and so on. Using movies to do it is offensive (Transformers) and pushes me away from the products in question.

    The most offensive advertising are the “real people” that comment about the car. They’ll do a fake interview or something. They usually get someone sort of ugly and somewhat overweight, you know, because that’s me; us. Hey, if a fat ugly person likes that Ford Fusion, they must be telling the truth! They’re fat and ugly and have nothing to lose.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL. +1 on the “real people” thing. Hyundai has been doing this a lot too. Not necessarily fatties, but definitely a lot of loser looking “regular folks” taking test drives, giving testimonials. Not working for me.

      • 0 avatar

        I suppose they’re trying to make it believable by using “real people”. But decades of reality TV and just plain being old enough to not be naive means that the medium is the message — it’s advertising, so we will be skeptical no matter what they do. And rightly so.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re preaching to the choir about “real people” in advertising. Even more annoying than casting slightly overweight or slightly ugly people is the irritatingly forced scripts where they get them to say something slightly kookie, or put pauses in the middle of the sentence as though to re-enforce the fact that “Hey, they’re struggling to talk properly or put a sentence together, they must be telling the truth!”
      Although the one that kills me the most is the Ford ad’ where the guy drums his hands on the box he’s sitting on saying “Oh boy oh boy!” I really do start looking for things to throw at the TV at that point.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is they never say anything.

        “Oh, I like it…(pauses to think about a cheeseburger)….a lot…(milkshake interrupts thoughts)….more than my Camry.”

    • 0 avatar

      Not only do I kill popups and don’t use facebook, I have to ask, “what’s a commercial?” :)

      What advertising / marketing I did find memorable is when there were 2 Maserati’s in NY’s Grand Central Terminal for week. Roped off, with an attractive lady flanked by a security guard, people stopped to take pictures and ask questions.

  • avatar

    People like what they can do behind their computer. This is an effort in laziness.

    (So is not citing any Facebook stats)

    Also Wert shouldn’t call anything masturbatory.

  • avatar

    And does Wert honestly thing it’s called “re-twitting”?

  • avatar

    I think that the only reason that they do these things is simple for the attention.

    Thing that gets me though is, why did Ford attack its fans in one of those articles? Now I know why they went so far as to support Sopa.

  • avatar

    And Ford will sell a ton of new vehicles thanks to their investment in social media.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure I would place the blame of the Fiesta’s sales woes at the feet of the social media marketing campaign. The Fiesta is struggling as there is a lot of new competition in the subcompact market and that they had some problems with their automatic transmissions.

    Gauging the effectiveness of spent advertising dollars is a dismal science at best. In particular, judging the effectiveness of a brand awareness campaign on sales is a tough call. Its not like a local dealer assessing local newspaper ads by the amount of walk ins they get.

    I would agree that social media advertising may have been over-hyped, but to dismiss it completely is an overreaction.

  • avatar
    George B

    For me Facebook is simply a tool to find out where to go for happy hour combined with news of what my friends did last weekend. Many Facebook users only use the message feature on mobile phones and ignore their home page news feed and ads.

    Sometimes Facebook friends post pictures of of a luxury or a sports car that they’re proud of, but most Ford products are what you buy because that’s all you can afford right now, not aspirational vehicles that you show off. The exception is the Ford Mustang which is sort of like a copy of vintage clothing, iconic and affordable.

  • avatar

    I’ve always thought of auto advertising as 2 tier. National campaigns funded by the manufacture that create awareness and local dealership advertising to actually drive sales.

    Remember that Ford/GM don’t sell cars to real people, they just pump them into the channels.

    Also a 2009 statement on the use on online media is worthless in my book. Current product + current ad campaigns either drive sales or they don’t.

    An ad campaign from 10 years ago that sold nothing, might be perfect for a product coming out next year.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason Lombard

      Bingo. Ford doesn’t sell cars to people. It’s Ford’s job to make people familiar with the brand, models, and differentiating features—as well as get them excited enough to take the next step. In this country, that next step involves the dealer base.

      It’s entirely possible for Ford’s social media people to measure click-through (CTR) and conversions based on that CTR (remember that a conversion does not necessarily equal a sale for the manufacturer—more likely, a conversion equals a qualified lead to pass along to the dealer base).

      As long as the ad and the landing page are both on the web, again it’s entirely possible to track campaign effectiveness. In fact, even if the ad was in print, but the starting point was a social media website (call to action: Visit [social media URL] to check out the new Fusion!), they should technically still be able to track the campaign’s effectiveness. Social Media > Landing Page > Dealer Lead > In-Person Visit/Test Drive > Vehicle Sale. With some dealer follow-up and tracking (database legwork), any agency should be able to analyze that sales funnel and tell them what their ‘dropout’ rate is per step in the funnel and give them an overall success rate for the campaign.

      Because I don’t have their reports in front of me, it’s impossible for me to say if Ford’s social strategy is working or not. And again, it does come back to how you define a “conversion”. But if you know what you spend in other, more traditional, channels to get a conversion, a marketer can certainly compare the social media costs against those to see if it’s a good value or not. And as a marketer, that’s ultimately the measuring stick. What’s my cost per conversion?

      But what do I know, I’m just a graphic designer…

    • 0 avatar

      The purpose of the Facebook/social-media/online campaign is to get the product and the brand name out there. I agree that no one is going to run out and buy a Ford vehicle because they saw an ad on Facebook, but it’s just one part of the advertising campaign.

      Ford corporate does a lot of social media and national TV advertising. That insures that people see the Ford logo, the Ford cars and trucks, and keep hearing the branding message over and over and over again multiple times per day. It plants the seed so that when they start to look for a car ‘Ford’ is already in their minds. The local dealer network does some TV and online, but a lot of radio, newspaper, and direct mail. Ford corporate puts the product and the brand out, and the local dealers advertise price, sales, events, whatever, to actually get people in the door.

      The goal is so that when someone decides to start looking for a new car they think ‘I’ve heard Ford’s have good fuel economy/reliability/technology/whatever-the-marketing-message-was’ even if they don’t remember the exact ads or sources that planted that seed. They then get a letter from their local dealer wanting to buy their trade, or hear a radio broadcast coming from the local lot, or see a big discount on the model they heard good things about in the morning paper, and they decide to drop by to see what it’s all about. Advertising is to get the customer in the door – after that it’s about the quality of the product and the ability of the sales team to turn it into a sale.

  • avatar

    The bold pronoincements in the last paragraph beg the question: why aren’t the prophet blazingly successful himself if he knows everything?

    • 0 avatar

      I never said I did. If I had all the answers, I’d in the Caymans swimming in a pile of gold coins, ala Scrooge McDuck.

      Think of it this way; I’m a lousy cook, but I can still tell when the steak is overcooked.

  • avatar

    Then again the Fiesta last month with 5135 outsold the Yaris at 4274, the Rio at 4006 and speaking of sales in the toilet, the Fit at 3202. Maybe all the social buzz is better than the nothing at all marketing approach Honda seems to be taking for the last interesting car it makes.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe Honda actively doesn’t WANT to sell Fits in the US because they’re getting slaughtered on the exchange rate- makes far more sense for them to reserve the production for markets where the Fit is a top seller and profitable, JDM first of all. It’s still in the US at all, I think, pretty much as a market placeholder until they can source them from Mexico and actually make money on them.

  • avatar

    “Let’s go back to the Fiesta. Sales are in the toilet.”

    I question whether this is an accurate assessment. As far as the subcompact class goes, Fiesta sales are midpack for the segment.

    Sales are below those of the Versa (which is the class leader in terms of sales volumes) and Accent, but greater than the Yaris and the Fit. The Versa notably competes on a low-entry price point, which Ford, Toyota and Honda are not.

    On the whole, that seems to be pretty good. If the Fiesta’s main purpose is to pull in younger buyers and keep them away from Honda and Toyota, while projecting a quality image, then the car may be doing its job. If I was in Ford’s position, I’d leave the price slashing to Nissan — leave the fight over low margins to somebody else.

    • 0 avatar

      They are down year over year, with April being a particularly poor month compared to 2011.

      • 0 avatar

        “They are down year over year, with April being a particularly poor month compared to 2011.”

        Sales during March and April 2011 were well above the average. Not really a reasonable comparison to the norm.

        Again, compare current sales to sales within the segment, and the volumes are mid-pack. Most notably. sales are above the two companies who should be the most formidable competitors. If you had told me three years ago that Ford would be outselling Honda in a small car segment, I would have laughed in your face, yet here they are.

        And let’s not make the old-GM mistake of measuring everything by volume alone. The business is also about margin and brand building, not just about volume.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m no expert, but from my observations it’s pretty common for sales of a given model to taper off as it ages and the competition offers newer models. Fiesta is behind last year but I’d give it a month or two more before saying it’s tanking. I realize it never lived up to Ford’s pre-release hype, but how many cars do?

    • 0 avatar

      Fiesta sales are way off compared to last year, but I think last year’s sales were inflated by either discounts or fleet sales, as well as low supplies of the outgoing Focus pushing people into Fiestas in earlier months. March and April of last year were certainly inflated judging by how much higher their numbers were than the other months.

      The Fiesta is still on track to sell 50-60k units this year, and with the new Focus out and the “new car” aura faded that’s probably its true rate of demand – which is perfectly respectable for a B-segment car and not at all “in the toilet”. Now if sales decline at a similar rate next year (which I doubt) then yeah, in the toilet might apply.

    • 0 avatar

      As I understand the Fiesta, I’m not sure it’s designed to be at the top of the sales chart.

      The Versa sells well because it is incredibly cheap. That’s a major part of the market for a subcompact. The Fiesta is not very cheap, and by the time you actually get decent options on it certainly not the economy option.

      If I were Ford I would be happy with what its doing, since presumably they are actually making a significant profit off of each Fiesta sold, and to be king of the sales chart with this type of vehicle you’d have to have a low profit margin.

      It’s like they are the Apple of subcompacts. Sure, they don’t sell as many, but they make a lot of money off of each one they sell. That’s a good place to be.

      • 0 avatar

        From the onset, Ford PR was touting the Fiesta as a play for youth and for margin, not for maximizing volume. I don’t know whether that effort has been successful, but the goal wasn’t to sacrifice price for sales.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it’s not bad for a C-segment. Frankly I think this segment is never going to be anywhere as popular as the B segment in the US. The Versa is the best seller here, and it’s also the biggest car in this segment. That tells you something.

  • avatar

    “More likely, it seems that these initiatives, undertaken by a number of OEMs beyond Ford, are what Ray Wert described as “…another example of the dark side of “social media” — the masturbatory echo chamber re-twitting the same tweets …of the same piece of garbage over and over again to the same social media “gurus.””

    Kind of ironic that Ray said that, considering his new job is going to be working with Jalopnik/Gawker advertisers on how to amplify that echo chamber.

  • avatar

    I’m from the advertising business. You wouldn’t believe how many big decisions are made because of factors no more legitimate than the client’s desire to attend a TV shoot, or the agency’s desire to produce glamor media because the top managers don’t know how to either supervise the creative product or profitably manage the budget for anything else.

    You know what still moves the metal like nobody’s business? Well-targeted, tastefully executed, non-cheesy, high-end junkmail. You reach the customer when they’re interested, give them something physical they can keep, and excite their imagination with glorious photography of the product. And its results are quantifiable (although online IS quantifiable when done responsibly). Know why it’s in decline? Ain’t the economics — just the egos.

  • avatar

    Interesting read Derek. I’m interested, who actually ever clicks on adverts on Facebook? Apart from the occasional click on adverts on TTAC to give you guys some pennies, I rarely if ever click on adverts on any webpage.
    It really has me scratching my head that prior to the IPO, Facebook is being valued at around $100billion and has 900+ million users. That’s over $100 per user. I’m not a t’internet marketing guru, but surely Facebook can’t be making that much money from all their users?

  • avatar

    GM is right about Facebook. People don’t go to facebook to search/research/buy for a car. They go to Google to search for a car.

    Buddy of mine switched from Google Adwords to Facebook, his sales plummeted and on top of that he said the advertising was about FOUR times as expensive! Talk about click fraud…

    I find it ridiculous that Facebook has the valuation in the IPO, it will surely massively drop from the lofty goals the underwriters have set after they sell their (20?) percentage of shares of those offered that they get for underwriting the sale. The SEC documents from Facebook mentions how many “like clicks” they get every day, really? Fantasy Land. BTW I also said that about Google on their IPO because of earnings to price ratio. But damn, they shot up form $74 a share anyways….

    Facebook and Ford? I did see the Ford Explorer Facebook page but because of all their other web advertising on Google directing me there. Ford doesn’t need Facebook though for that, they needed Google and Youtube which hosted the videos I saw.

    :::: Facebook costs x4 Google, with 1/10th the result. Grossly overpriced. :::::

  • avatar

    Fiesta sales are “in the toilet” in the sense that although 5,000 odd units a month is respectable, it is not close to what Ford expected – that argument is just semantics anyway from the meat of the story.

    6.5 million combined YouTube views for SEVEN-HUNDRED videos is less than 10,000 views per video. In my marketing role we do a lot of social media and video production. If I produced a campaign with those kinds of numbers I would be beaten, skinned, burned alive, thrown from the roof of the building, and then fired. That is by all definition a flop. A disaster. A waste of resources.

    Next, those views are not turning into sales – that is painfully obvious. I mean come on. The maligned by the B&B Chevrolet Sonic outsold the Fiesta – and it did it without 700 YouTube videos and before someone wails “fleet queen” lets remember, the Fiesta is a God awful fleet queen itself, and Ford led all automakers in fleet sales last year.

    Ford’s automotive advertising right now is pretty bad. I won’t say it sucks, but it is bad. Their truck advertising (the ones narrated by Denis Leary) are excellent, but that style ad won’t work with the cars (remember, target market).

    The Mike Rowe we took their car and gave them a Ford ads don’t work. GM tried to do similar campaigns (remember) and they didn’t work for them either. Trying to change views on ingrained buying habits via marketing is really hard, and quite frankly its lazy marketing because it doesn’t go back to, who the Hell is your customer and what do they really want.

    • 0 avatar

      Is the Fiesta a fleet queen? I don’t think the “God awful” qualifier is necessary, at any rate. I’ve never seen a fleet/retail sales breakdown of the Fiesta, nor have I seen many rental Fiestas in the wild.

      I do remember reading that Ford originally projected US Fiesta sales to fall in the range of 35,000 to 70,000 a year – the Fiesta was at the top of that range last year and is still on track to be comfortably within that target for 2012.

      And as for Ford fleet sales as a whole, more than half of their fleet sales are to corporate or government fleets. Only something like 14% of their sales last year were daily rental, which as far as I’m aware isn’t much more than, say, Hyundai.

  • avatar

    I got a Facebook thing but honestly, after about a week I was bored to death with it and rarely even look at it anymore. My kids love it naturally but they’re not into cars (or work either but that’s another story).
    Give me some decent TV adds, something informative with a lighter side that leaves you smiling. Like the time TOP GEAR (UK) tried to do a car add for VW, now those were great!

    • 0 avatar

      Several manufacturers have handed over (for keeps) one or more of their cars in order to get them seen on Top Gear – and consequently millions of viewers. Examples of this are the Renault Twingo that Clarkson launched into the sea at a ferry terminal and the Toyota Aygo vs VW Fox car football game. Although in both instances it ended up with dead or damaged cars, it got their products onto one of the most watched TV shows in the world and all it cost the manufacturers 1-5 cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly – it was cheap for the manufacturers and fun. Those 1-5 cars would have cost the manufacturer what c.$100K whereas Gm was spending $10 million to have arguably no more effect.

  • avatar

    I don’t recall exactly when advertisers began using “real people” in their ads, or when all ads finally featured “real people” exclusively, but there’s a reason why only good-looking, perfectly groomed men and women and children were used in advertising: We all wanted to be just like them, struggle for that “ideal”. It worked.

    Why should I buy a Ford if I have to look like Mike Rowe in a sloppy T-shirt and jeans and beat-up baseball cap, not to mention the sometimes-slobs featured as “customers”?

    Give me the likes of classy Ricardo Montalban pitching “…soft Corinthian leather” or anyone well-dressed like “Don Draper” or Bob Newhart, or even me with my suit and fedora (just kidding – too old and ugly) – something to aspire to, you know, a high standard? In other words, SHOW SOME CLASS!

    • 0 avatar

      There is an overall rebellion against using “perfect” people in advertising right now because the concept of “perfect” has morphed into a virtual airbrushed, hours in makeup and hair styling, tens of thousands of dollars in plastic surgery, and hours of workouts and near starvation impossible to achieve falsehood. It has gone beyond aspiration, and moved into impossibility.

      There is a belief that people make a “connection” when they see someone and go, “that’s me,” but you can take it too far. Ford takes it too far. A good example of nailing it is the Dove real woman campaign (even though they got busted for virtual air brushing, at least they are closer). The women are “real” and are attractive in their own right. Hyundai “in their own words” ads do a better job in Ford, they seem to be picking out “nicer” looking “ordinary” people.

  • avatar

    Ford should do a viral video where they bury all the Powershifts in Alamogordo, New Mexico next to all the Atari scrap.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I like Ford. It’s the only American car manufacturer that I’d even think about purchasing a product from.

    However, if they’re relying on Facebook, I’m afraid that they’re placing their emphasis on folks who are…shall we say…rather underwelming in their intellectual abilities. (Sorry, but it’s twue, it’s twue).

    Please, Ford, just make good products. Let the Facebook kids continue searcing for maturity. The rest of us will purchase your stuff – if it’s good.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, Facebook’s fastest growing demographic isn’t “kids.”

      Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool, but it is largely misapplied.

      • 0 avatar
        Jason Lombard

        I agree with APaGttH. True on both counts.

        “Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of Facebook users in the U.S., and could number 55 million by 2020.”

        Full article here:

    • 0 avatar

      “I like Ford. It’s the only American car manufacturer that I’d even think about purchasing a product from.”

      Let me guess…because they didn’t take taxpayer dollars despite Ford taking $5.9 BILLION of taxpayer dollars?

  • avatar

    I’d be happy to volunteer my wife for the Ford Fiesta ad. It was the first new car she had bought with money she had saved herself while working and putting herself through school. Yes, I know, a hard-working college student is hardly the right demographic for the car.

    But just to hear hear talk about how she spent so much time getting to know the Ford dealer staff (who are nowhere near as personable as Mike Rowe) or hours on the phone trying to figure out if she’d ever get that replacement Powershit transmission…

    Ford should spend more money on building quality cars, not worthless Facebook ads.

  • avatar

    I’ve worked in the digital space for FoMoCo. Don’t like the result? Change the metric. That kind of sums things up. Plus, I’m sure Zuckerbaby gave them a hell of a quantity discount. He needed something semi-newsworthy so that those Captains of Structured Bankruptcy over at GM don’t rain on his IPO parade.

  • avatar

    Commercials are a big reason I use my DVR a lot. Ford’s commercials are annoying because of the aforementioned “real people” and their forced interviews. I think Mike Rowe is funny on Dirty Jobs, and in his other shows, but he needs to can it and stop whoring for Ford.

    I have nothing against Ford, I actually like them, but I don’t need to be convinced to buy one; if it’s in my price range I’ll look.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 on the DVR.

      If at all possible, I DVR any show I plan on watching.

      I don’t watch much television, but there are a very few select shows that I would miss if I ditched cable/dish/tv (why did AMC cancel Rubicon, damnit!!??? – I digress).

      DVR lets me save 20 minutes of my life that would ordinarily be wasted or interfered with per one hour of normal television programming I watch, and that’s a huge benefit.

      • 0 avatar
        Jason Lombard

        +1 on Rubicon. It was a great show. Was bummed to find out that it was cancelled. They said maybe a web series for a while, but I don’t think that ever happened either.

  • avatar

    If someone buys a new car just because of a facebook ad, then they are too stupid to afford long-term car payments.

  • avatar

    About the only Ford ad I’ve seen recently that I liked was the one where some race driver is whipping a Taurus SHO around a road course. That was actually interesting to see that barge hike up it’s skirt and hustle.

    Otherwise, the “real people” campaign makes me feel stupider for having seen it.

    On the Facebook thing, I find it fascinating that Ford is doubling down where GM is cutting. Someone is wrong, and it’ll be interesting to find out who it is.

    • 0 avatar

      They could both be right – depends on their targets and goals; they equally could both be wrong. Facebook is not the answer to every advertisers social media strategy and likewise is a vital part for others; even advertisers in the same sector.

  • avatar

    Regarding the sales of the mediocre Fiesta:

    Sales are down almost 30% for the year and were down almost 44% last month.

    The “:Fiesta movement” (which sounds like something done first thing in the morning) was colossal failure. But the Fiesta’s sales woes are only partly to blame on advertising. It’s a mediocre product.

    All of Ford’s advertising sucks. The fake press conference where actors read a prepared script are terrible, the Mike Rowe ads feature Mike Rowe more than the product…and when they do talk about the product, they are sitting inside talking about some electronic gimmick.

    The only Ford ads that are decent are the ones for the F-150 (even if they do blatantly lie about Ecoboost mileage).

    • 0 avatar

      The purpose of any and all advertising is to tell the world about your product and motivate the public to want one (even if it is a mediocre product).

      Looking back over automotive history, the Detroit 3 for decades were highly successful in motivating people to buy their mediocre products year after year after year.

      At least until the better foreign products came along. What really kills Ford and GM still is that the foreign brands offer much more value for the money in a head to head comparison, even if both the domestic and foreign brand products are mediocre.

      The Fiesta clearly is the better-built, better value when compared to similar Nissans and Kias, but buyers don’t always see it that way. Maybe because both the Nissans and the Kias sell for less than the Fiesta? That could be a deciding factor in that category and class.

    • 0 avatar

      There are a few reasons Fiesta sales are down year on year: the 2012 Focus is available in quantity now (this wasn’t true this time last year, and the people who appreciate the high quality of the new Focus and Fiesta were buying Fiestas last year because the old Focus didn’t ring the same bells), incentives are down (right now the Fiesta has a $250 rebate, a year ago I think it was $750), and there is more competition in the segment.

      The Fiesta is outselling established competitors and holding its own. The transaction price is higher than many competing vehicles, and that’s what matters in the end – making money on each car sold, not selling the most at a loss.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe the foreign brands sell better because they choose to make less money on each car they sell. And even if the Ford products are available in quantity now, they still do not enjoy the same sales numbers as the foreign brands.

        No, I think it all boils down to indoctrinating the people on social media into thinking that they want Ford products by exposing them to clever, attention-getting animated ads that portray how cool Ford cars are. Similar ads can be used in other media like TV, portals like Google and Yahoo, and direct email.

        Heaven forbid that any of these shoppers should actually compare the domestic products against the foreign brands for quality, value and content. That is what wins people over to, let’s say, the Elantra. Content, value and price.

        Unless Ford and GM can put that much value into a package that matches the price of a foreign-brand, the foreign brands will win hands down, and also make money doing it.

        I believe making more Ford and GM products in Mexico will level the playing field for Ford and GM by making their products at a lower cost while increasing their profit margin.

      • 0 avatar

        Anyone who drives a Fiesta vs an Accent, Yaris, or Versa should be able to clearly see the Fiesta is the superior vehicle when it comes to features, ride, and interior and build quality. In fact, as was mentioned above the Fiesta outsold more established entries like the Yaris and Fit, and wasn’t that far off compared to the Sonic and Elantra. The Focus outsold everyone, domestic and import, aside from the perpetual juggernauts Civic and Corolla.

        The Korean cars are cheaper, and they come with a longer warranty, and to some people price and warranty is more important than what the better car is.

        Every automaker plays the advertising game – tries to get their name out there in every way they can. Ford is embracing new media more than others, and sure, that’s somewhat of a risk, but to me that’s a good sign. For too long Ford, GM, and Chrysler were content to follow a step or two behind the import brands, copying just enough to have an entry that could turn a couple heads based on features per price. Now, Ford at least is taking on the competition at their own game – interior quality and ride refinement to best the German’s at their own game and technology and reliability to best the Japanese at what they built their reputation on. It’s a no holds barred attack to make the most premium product in each segment and to be able to ask a premium price for it. With that kind of balls in product planning I appreciate that there are risks being taken in marketing to get the word out there that the new Ford lineup isn’t the boring, cheap, average option that it used to be.

      • 0 avatar

        “The Korean cars are cheaper, and they come with a longer warranty, and to some people price and warranty is more important than what the better car is.”

        That was exactly my point. And that same reasoning is what affects the bottom line for sales of the domestic cars.

        Hence, if Ford can stir interest in its products using social media, maybe Ford will be able to develop a potential buyer that will choose the better car over one that offers more for the money and has a longer warranty.

        I’m sure that Ford has access to all the marketing studies that were done, among which the better ones by Jerry De La Femina, the icon of Madison Ave, in order to cultivate potential buyers by bending their minds subconsciously, in effect, “creating” the desire for a product the way Victoria’s Secret does.

        It doesn’t matter that most women who buy Victoria’s Secret merchandise do not look like the models and can’t possibly stuff all that booty into the material provided. The bottom line is that it sells!

        I’m not talking about subliminal messaging, which is not legal everywhere. I’m talking about repetitive exposure to merchandising and re-enforcement of the Ford=Quality message. Social media is the way to go IMO.

        Yeah, I too remember when Ford had a better idea, and Quality was Job 1. Those were regrettable eras.

        But under Alan Mulally, who can deny the fact that Ford is currently enjoying its best products ever? It doesn’t matter that they’re made in Mexico and Canada. It’s good stuff now. It can and should sell better.

  • avatar

    Can we get another GM motorama? Traveling advertising live shows would probably stun and shock the computer jaded over stimulated people of today.

    Probably end up being money better spent and end up with more sales per ad dollar.

    Just arrange these types of things on weekends at shopping malls around the USA.

  • avatar

    Ford’s marketing is remarkably tone deaf. The whole Fiesta Movement thing was a bust, yet they are apparently doubling down on social media. The interminable Mike Rowe ads are cheesy and embarrassing; You can’t manufacturer good word of mouth like that, let the cars speak for themselves. Then there’s Lincoln…yikes.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ford’s becoming a victim of its own hype. They have made great strides in the last decade with solid, reliable, class-competitive and – gasp – conservative cars. Now they’re dead set on frittering that all away in an effort to be seen as the tragically hip, techy Eurosnob brand. That plan is a disaster in the making. Much to the dismay of enthusiasts, vanilla sells, and that’s why the new Camry is absolutely everywhere these days – without rental barcodes in the back window, no less. Traditional Ford buyers may well be turned off by the new look and feel, while the hipster market probably won’t want to wade through acres of F-150s and sales bubbas to look at a supposed VW or Subaru alternative.

    GM, for their part seems to have made the right call with the Cruze by sticking to (massive amounts of) traditional advertising and blatant product placement. A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile.

    • 0 avatar

      By doubling down on social media maybe they hope to develop a potential buyer by repetitiveness or by implanting subliminal images that subconsciously trigger recognition when the potential buyer sees that product on the street in the real world.

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