Generation Why: I Get The "Impression" That Ford Wants To Party Again

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
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generation why i get the impression that ford wants to party again

As a first-rate cynic and an enthusiast of the English language, I reflexively cringe when I hear the latest “CBC buzzwords” (CBC is Canada’s version of NPR) that get thrown around by the sort of people who think that bicycles will eventually replace cars as our main mode of transportation in our future communitarian-utopia of urban living.

You may have heard them before; words like “vibrant”, “sustainable” or “diverse” inevitably always used as a positive adjective regarding one’s proximity to a farmer’s market or yoga studio. Describing oneself as a “storyteller” when one’s employment situation is murky at best. Describing any commodity good as “artisinal”. This is what I call “word torture”, and if George Carlin were still alive, he’d have a field day.

Imagine my horror when I logged on to the website for the latest installment of Ford’s Fiesta movement and saw it was chock-full of these nebulous descriptors. I nearly had to go back and read one of TTAC’s “Volts on Fire” stories just to calm my rapidly rising blood pressure.

For 2014, Ford is refreshing the new Fiesta, and adding a 1.0L 3-cylinder Ecoboost engine. They’re also dragging out the much touted Fiesta Movement social media campaign to help promote the car.

As we all know, Ford loves “social” – another nebulous word in our increasingly vapid 21st century lexicon. I am just old enough to remember when “social” had nothing to do with sitting in front of a computer screen, which was by definition, anti-social. Today it apparently means using a bunch of web tools to get people to create free marketing…err, “content” in the parlance of the internet.

Make no mistake, that’s exactly what this is. In exchange for a new Fiesta, gas, insurance and some camera gear, participants in the Fiesta movement are going to be creating free ads for Ford. Because after all, if you are not paying for a product or a service – especially online – you are the product. Well, your data is, but that’s another story altogether.

Previously, Generation Why has questioned the efficacy of campaigns like the Fiesta Movement. In addition to telling you how enthralled they are with “social”, Ford loves to tout how many impressions the Fiesta movement got; 3.5 million on Twitter and more than 6.5 million on Youtube.

Sounds impressive, right? Two problems here.

  1. 1) Those 6.5 million views are spread over 700 videos created by 100 participants. A friend of mine, with a Canon 5D, a rented Challenger and a B-List rapper, created a video with 41 million views and counting. Ford’s numbers look pathetic when more details come to light.
  2. 2) What the hell are “impressions” anyways? Frankly, I’m prepared to go out on a limb and label them a BS metric that doesn’t really tell us anything but sounds really good to people who nod their head out of fear of seeming irrelevant and out of touch.

Do the math and the average views per video is less than impressive. Think about it; we are all facing increasing demands for our attention, whether it’s TV, Netflix, video games, the internet, viral videos, past due bills, nagging spouses, recreational pursuits and in the case of Generation Why, making enough money just to move out of our parents basements and start a real life. Do we have time to watch some shitty amateur hack job of a video filmed on a GoPro about a car that will make us look poor (remember hatchback = poverty for everyone that doesn’t pray at the altar of European Auto Supremacy). Not a chance.

But Ford persists with the Fiesta Movement, the godawful Escape Routes reality TV show and the idiotic Jimmy Fallon Lincoln ad. It is astonishing that a company that creates such superb cars and manages to do a good job selling them (usually the two are mutually exclusive) is wedded to awful social media campaigns. Even Rihanna’s steadfast loyalty to Chris Brown is easier to decipher. It could be that Scott Monty and the rest of the “social” crew just need to justify their jobs and their lucrative compensation packages. The more likely answer is that nobody really knows which end is up, and everyone is afraid to say that the emperor is naked. At least that’s my impression.

N.B At the end of 2012, sales of the Fiesta trailed the segment leader, the Nissan Versa, by a roughly 2:1 margin. The Fiesta ranks 4th in the segment, with the Chevrolet Sonic and Hyundai Accent ranking in 2nd and 3rd. The Honda Fit is nipping at the Fiesta’s heels.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • on Feb 20, 2013

    Ford is getting GM disease when it comes to pushing stupid marketing on Gen Y, of which I am one. Urban hipsterites are a freaking dead end. How about suburban youth who have graduated college, maybe loved a chintzy old hot hatch as high schoolers, and want something that recreates the fun they had with their old Festiva but in brand new, high tech form? Show someone revving the piss out of it over some quasi rural suburban twisty road in SoCal. Or give up, and start selling cheapie versions of your volume cars with big engine options a la Chrysler. Or build more of what gen Y ACTUALLY buys: Mustangs, trucks and Focii.

    • See 1 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Feb 21, 2013

      @Onus "An avenger or 200 used with the pentastar is a steal for use gen y’ers." Agreed. Suggested it to my 28yo bro, but he wasn't comfortable with the whole "Chrysler" stigma attached to it. Our parents on new vans and myself (used K car) got burned by Chrysler in the 90s.

  • Mcarr Mcarr on Feb 21, 2013

    As an IT guy that worked closely with a marketing dept, I can tell you the way those types measure success is far different from how I (a presumably normal person) would. Speaking of "impressions", I remember they had this metric where XXX,XXX,XXX number of impressions equaled ONE sale, so they're big focus was, you guessed it, to jack up the number of impressions.

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.