Ford is Marketing the EcoSport Like We're All Still Children

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford is marketing the ecosport like we re all still children

Advertising isn’t designed to help you make an informed purchasing decision. While some auto ads occasionally cherry pick information to highlight a vehicle’s strengths, you see this tactic employed less and less lately. Pathos-driving advertising sometimes results in innocuous gems, like Subaru’s “ Dog Approved” campaign. However, there has been an obnoxious trend where cars, which are presumably for adults, are being marketed as if they are children’s toys.

One of the worst offenders of this phenomenon was Nissan. It tied the Rogue to the Star Wars franchise as much as possible — issuing television spots set in a galaxy far, far away, a special movie edition variant of the vehicle, crossover swag, and even a car modeled to look like an X-wing to display at trade events. It potentially worked, too — Rogue sales skyrocketed.

Taking notice, Ford has similarly decided to link the upcoming EcoSport to the new Guardians of the Galaxy film. The Blue Oval is taking that concept a step further, however. Its downright egregious marketing campaign feels like it belongs in the ad space reserved for Saturday morning cartoons, circa 1992, right next to a sugary breakfast cereal with a cartoon mascot. Ford has sweepstakes, comic books and a film cameo planned.

The EcoSport won’t even be on dealer lots until 2018, but Ford has convinced Marvel Studios to include the crossover in two scenes of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, according to a Ford spokesperson. If you’re thinking it’s probably just in the background when the characters go to Earth, buckle up. The producer said in a February interview that Earth will serve as relatively minor setting without the cast, and a Ford representative told Automotive News there is definitely a scene where the EcoSport is being driven by one of the characters.

While this doesn’t guarantee a Dunkaccino level of cringeworthy film time, it also really sounds like the Ford EcoSport will be shoehorned into a scene on another planet.

The comic book is a limited-edition printing from Marvel that ties in directly to the television commercial. It features one of the main characters in a ride-along with a fan of the film who is suddenly attacked by baddies. It’s really nothing more than the ad on paper, but real fans of the franchise will love it. A digital copy is available online if you want to be further inundated with product placement.

Marvel and Ford are also hosting a sweepstakes where entrants get a chance to win an EcoSport, a private screening of the film, one of 150 custom illustrations by a Marvel artist depicting the fan as a galactic hero, and other assorted movie-related goodies.

This, of course, would all be very exciting if you were nine and somehow possessed the means to purchase a new automobile. But, stepping off this soapbox for a moment, I know that this campaign will work as intended. Automotive enthusiasts will scoff at Ford’s attempt to cajole our inner child, but there are loads of adults who already line their shelves with toys. Those of us who are less offended by aggressive marketing and don’t covet the car won’t be bothered in the slightest. Some may even think to themselves, “I could probably use a replacement runabout now that my sticker-laden Nissan Versa has seen better days.”

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2 of 82 comments
  • 4drSedan 4drSedan on May 03, 2017

    Dammit Dr. Z, I was going to make a well thought out comment about the maturity level of the average American but your points dissuaded me, so...what he said.

  • Caboose Caboose on May 03, 2017

    I wonder if Matt Farah's Stage 3 Cobb tune will fit on this?

  • MaintenanceCosts This class of car competes hard with Chargers/Challengers and modded diesel pickups for the douchey-driving crown.
  • 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!