By on May 3, 2017

Ford EcoSport guardians of the galaxy ad

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.

EcoSport Comic

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.”

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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82 Comments on “Ford is Marketing the EcoSport Like We’re All Still Children...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I see much more “EMPIRE” and “REBEL ALLIANCE” stickers on cars than I’ve ever seen Guardians of the Galaxy paraphernalia.

    Good luck with that Ford, wake me when the Bronco and Ranger are introduced in North America. That is a lovely shade of orange BTW.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      “What’s the color, Burnt Rust?”

      -GM Real People

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      When I bought my used Mini Clubman, the previous owner had put some really massive Rebel Alliance vinyl stickers on it. The one on the hood was really baked on – both from the sun and the turbo.

      All the stickers – and the manual transmission – made the car two thousand bucks less than book.

      Goo-Be-Gone and a heat gun were put hard to work to get all the residue off.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    But who takes those 9 year old kids to the movies? Chances are they are an adult of car buying age.

  • avatar
    Reuleaux

    If we’re honest, aren’t any cars beyond the basic econobox just toys for grownups?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Anything beats Denis Leary.

  • avatar
    focaltac

    The people at Ford know that the EcoSport is warmed-over third world crap. This campaign is Lincoln Motor Company all over again.

    Sad.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Most car ads are stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Even for otherwise decent cars. See: all Chevy commercials.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Worst offender by far is Range Rover. I mean, the Arctic Circle is full of metrosexual, lightly jacketed yuppies trolling around looking for lightly jacketed chicks driving a team of sled dogs, right?

      Makes that Audi ad that triggered Jack earlier this year look like “Citizen Kane.”

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Especially egregious considering the Range Rover is more than competent in an actual off-road situation.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The one in the ad is basically a glorified CR-V / RAV4 type car…the only off-highway destination it’s headed for is the parking lot at Nordstrom.

          In case anyone wants to watch this magnificent piece of mental masturbation…

          https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AYIl/2015-land-rover-discovery-sport-the-crossing

          And he didn’t even get the girl’s number. Oy vey.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            In no way would he be able to fit the dogs and sled in there in one trip, and the sled might not fit at all.

            Also, I hate the Discovery Sport.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You miss the point, Corey – he encountered this lightly clad hot chick in the Arctic circle and he didn’t even hook up with her. Guy’s a f**king idiot. They’re SLED DOGS. Let ’em stay outside. They’ll live. Toss ’em some Beggin’ Strips and it’s all good. If the Range Rover’s rocking, don’t come a-knocking, kids.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I didn’t think she was that hot, really.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Consider the alternatives available in that barren wasteland, though. It’s her or the sled dog.

            (OK, that came out very, very wrong.)

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Well, that’s a different lifestyle choice.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            It’s going to be a LONG TIME until Rover roadside assistance can get to you.

            If you’re trying to stay warm, you definitely want something with a little more meat than a model.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Open mindedness is key to the Range Rover Lifestyle.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed, Corey

            That was brilliant.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            hahaha

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Next up:

            http://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/man-forced-to-make-the-decision-in-venables-bell-partners-latest-for-audi/128553

            What’s the IQ of a guy who’d rather take on the Mafia in his Q5 than get assigned a Lexus in witness protection?

            Discuss.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Ha, we talked about this ad internally earlier this week. That’s a heck of a witness protection package to turn down. Quite a big house.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Despite what we think of an advertisement, it exists to plant an image in our brain. Part of that process is at a subconscious level. We are hardwired to feel comfortable with the familiar. If one considers the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and the large number of people who watched it, the tie in should be obvious. The movie made us “feel good/happy” therefore that linkage is transferred to the product.

    It is a highly effective strategy.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “The comic book is a limited-edition printing from Marvel that ties in directly to the television commercial.”

    “Limited edition” – what does that mean, two million copies? I can see these showing up on eBay. COLLECTOR’S EDITION!!!!!111!!!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    C’mon, who doesn’t want to be Star Lord?

    By the way, the Ecosport was at the Denver auto show a few weeks back…looked pretty decent, as mini-CUVs go, actually.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The EcoSport, like the entire subcompact CUV segment, looks like a child’s toy, so this is fully appropriate.

    I had to laugh after poking around the Star Wars Nissan Rogue. That’s a lot of money for some Star Wars stickers, door sill plates, and a blacked-out treatment that attempts to make a slow and cheap-feeling CUV look aggressive and unique.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    I can’t really be bothered to look it up, but there was a study sometime which concluded that in a bizarrely high number of car purchase decisions by families (something like 40% IIRC), the child or children significantly took part in the decision-making process. Makes sense, too: if you as a parent don’t really care whether you buy some Nissan or some Ford or some Kia, because you’re not a car enthusiast but just in the market for a people moving appliance, but your offspring really really favours the Ford, chances are you’ll tend to follow their pleas, lest you won’t hear the end of it for the next couple of years whenever they’ll have to ride in something else.

    So I think it’s quite probable that those ads don’t just feel like they’re aimed at children, but that they actually are.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “EcoSport” tells me it’ll fail at at least one of those.

    (I do like Ford’s “sport” offerings – the Fusion and Edge Sport models are both kinda compelling.

    Don’t try and tell me a car is “eco” and “sport” unless it’s basically a Tesla.

    Even then, well, the “sport” half markets better to me.)

  • avatar
    probert

    We are children.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m not really bugged by this idea, it gave us the original RoadRunner (complete with a special horn that cost $10k to develop!).

    What bugs, or would bug me, is dedicating a whole comic page just for product placement. Not like Marvel needs the dough. I say would because I rarely if ever read comic books, let alone recent ones.

    The strategy does work, if you’re to question anything question the people who make expensive purchasing decisions based on little product tie ins.

    You don’t have to question those that bought RoadRunners, they were simply cool cars tied in to a good cartoon.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The only people laughing at RoadRunners today are the people who sold them for six figures…getting a real big guffaw on their way to the bank.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t know what “Guardians of the Galaxy” is, so the whole moronic campaign is lost on me.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      It’s an entertaining film, part of a reasonably entertaining film franchise. One is no more or less intelligent for not having seen it, although not having heard of it seems unlikely (and gives off vibes of /r/iamverysmart), given how well the first film did at the box office.

  • avatar
    islander800

    What do you expect when the “creatives” sector is infested with 20-to-40-something fan boys who’re only interested in movies derived from comic books? I swear, this generation of “adultlescents” never grew up.

    As a boomer, I find the vast majority of ads today infantile and insulting. It seems strange that the one demographic with disposable income to spend (boomers) is completely ignored – unless we’re targeted with condescending crap pushing adult diapers, walk-in tubs or stair climbers.

    So pathetic! (with a wink to that ultimate man-child, Drumpf)

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      yeah, because Boomers never succumb to nostalgia. Certainly not enough to vote for a guy who appeals to their sense of nostalgia.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Advertisers sell you those things because they’ve found a market for them. And yes, the ads for “discrete” adult diapers, LifeAlert, reverse mortgages, etc. are pretty bottom-of-the-barrel, but they sell the product, which is their primary purpose.

      But to answer your first paragraph, these “fanboys” are the children of boomers. So why did their parents allow them to “not grow up”? And why does it bother you so much what other people choose to do to entertain themselves?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it’s nonsense anyway. I’m one of those “useless 40-year-old fan boys” he describes for whom the ’80s Transformers cartoon was a daily after-school event, and I was blown away by the Transformers movie in 2007.

        That doesn’t mean I ran right out to buy a yellow Camaro, though. We *do* have a couple of brain cells to rub together between us.

        ” So why did their parents allow them to “not grow up”?”

        Yeah, boomers, if your kids are so worthless, why did you raise them that way? Judging by the conduct I see among a lot of the 55-70 year old set, YOU never grew up either. probably no coincidence your generation set the standard for looking for someone else to blame for the consequences of your own actions.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Oh the Boomers are just bitter that they are in their 70’s and still have to work because they blew their retirement on a C4 Vette during their midlife crisis and despite all their bluster back in the 60’s they did in fact turn out like their parents…except their parents, you know really did Important stuff…The boomers just bitched and moaned a lot in the end.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” the Boomers are just bitter that they are in their 70’s and still have to work ”

            For a lot of Boomers these Golden Years ain’t so golden. Many of them still have to work.

            What I find scary is that with young people having fewer kids these days than the boomers did, at some point when these youngsters become oldsters, there won’t be enough offspring to take care of them or keep their earned-benefits solvent.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            ” What I find scary is that with young people having fewer kids these days than the boomers did, at some point when these youngsters become oldsters, there won’t be enough offspring to take care of them or keep their earned-benefits solvent.”

            Hence the need for immigration.

            Oh forgot, you hate brown guys doing the sh!tty jobs you won’t do unless you can profit from it.
            Might as well add the brown guys who work in the tech industry or any brown guy with a beard and a towel around their head. Those guys suck too unless someone is making a buck off of them.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I’m all for LEGAL immigration. My own parents were LEGAL immigrants.

            No other country on the planet will let anyone enter their nation illegally.

            If Americans enter Mexico illegally, Mexico puts their asses in jail!

            So I hope that the illegals migrate further north into Canada where they’re welcomed.

            In New Mexico we’re doing on part in moving them along.

            It seems to be working. More people these days crossing the border from the US into Canada, than from Mexico into the US.

            I say “Good on you guys!”

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            highdesertcat – there will always be illegal immigration. I do agree that it needs to be controlled.
            The problem is that individuals like yourself and many of #emptypotus supporters blame the problem almost exclusively upon the illegal immigrants. Most of them come to the USA for a better life not for criminal intent.

            Why don’t you and #emptypotus types go after those who hire illegals?

            No sense sneaking across the border if you can’t find a job now is there?

            Why does Canada have minimal issues with illegal immigration?
            We live next to a wealthy country so there isn’t much benefit to illegally enter into Canada.

            What if #emptypotus took that 15-20 billion required to build the “Great Wall of Drumpf” and invested it in Mexico?
            It is estimated that drug trafficking through Mexico drains 19-29 billion from the USA economy.
            A wall isn’t going to change that.

            In 2010 the USA Government spent 15 billion on the “War on drugs”. Local and state governments spent 25 billion.

            It is logical to deal with issues contributing to “drugs”, and illegal immigration on multiple fronts. The “war on drugs” like the “War on illegal immigration” also known as the “law enforcement and incarceration” model fail miserably.

            If one were to invest in Mexico (and USA for that matter) with the goal of addressing poverty and poor education as well as dealing with corruption and crime, it would take years to correct the problem but it would most likely be less costly and yield long lasting benefits to the USA and Mexico.

            Unfortunately issues and their solutions tend to be compartmentalized along the lines of political ideology. Left leaning social programs combined with right leaning criminal justice need to work together on the problem.

            You can’t fix the problems facing the USA or any country with only leftist policies or only right wing policies. Both sides have good ideas but alone and without balance, they will fail.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @HDC
            “It seems to be working. More people these days crossing the border from the US into Canada, than from Mexico into the US.
            I say “Good on you guys!””

            The people currently crossing from the USA into Canada are immigrants that fear religious, racial, and ethnic persecution by the USA Government and by the populace.

            That is no different than black slaves escaping to Canada via the Underground Railway.

            Both are occurrences that as an American, one would not want to brag about and should not view as a source of pride.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “What I find scary is that with young people having fewer kids these days than the boomers did, at some point when these youngsters become oldsters, there won’t be enough offspring to take care of them or keep their earned-benefits solvent.”

            I don’t have kids, and I don’t worry about this at all. my plan is to work until I can’t anymore, then the instant I start having problems caring for myself it’s off to find Dr. Kevorkian (assuming that’ll be legal.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            JimZ – so far it is only legal for life limiting illness combined with intolerable suffering.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Well, you’ve still got control over your car’s ignition, and the garage door.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “so far it is only legal for life limiting illness combined with intolerable suffering.”

            I don’t think that the current presidency counts!

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Boomers have no right to complain since boomers raised “them”.

        On the subject of “fanboys”…. who buys Harley Davidson’s, retro-Mustangs, Camaro’s, Challengers,Hellcats, Demons et al?

        Boomers aren’t completely ignored. Ever hear the saying, ” You can sell a young man’s car to an old man but not an old man’s car to a young man?

        The reason why advertising caters less and less to boomers is because boomers are exerting less pressure on the market place. By definition, I’m a boomer but at 55, I’m at the young end. Based on my pension contributions, I can retire in 4 years. In the next 10 years most boomers will leave the work force.

        If advertisers can’t replace that demographic in the next 10 years we will be faced with stagnant economic grown of a depth and breath that will make 2009 look like boom times.

  • avatar

    I want to make bumper stickers that say “yIn Suq” – Get a life, in Klingon.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    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.

  • avatar
    Caboose

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

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