Friday, March 19, 2010

Ford Promotes Chevy!

I'm watching TV the other evening and a Ford Truck spot comes on. It's hosted by Mike Rowe, who is a great talent. Ford made an excellent decision to use him as their spokesman. He's likable, amusing, and just tough enough to be a truck kinda guy.

In the spot, Rowe interviews truck owners about their Fords and how much they like them. It's spontaneous and off the cuff. Everybody's having fun. It's a nice commercial to watch. It makes you feel good about Fords.

The closing scene of the spot shows Rowe talking to a dog. He asks, "so what do you think of Chevy?" The dog growls and tears a a rag doll to shreds. Pretty funny stuff, probably ad libbed. A clever way to close the spot and great entertainment.

But Ford blew it.

Through the entire commercial my attention is focused on only one thing: Ford trucks. I am entertained, the message soaks into my brain without me knowing it. If there had been a Ford salesman watching with me, he would have made a sale then and there. In my zoned-out, TV inspired bliss, I have no notion that there is any kind of truck besides Ford.

And then they mention Chevy.

With that one question, "What do you think of Chevy?" the spell is broken. I remember now that besides Ford, I could also spend my money on a Chevy. The whole message is negated.

This spot cost Ford hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and distribute. If I were GM, I'd be sending Ford a bottle of expensive champagne and a letter of thanks.

The time to acknowledge your competition is when you're developing your ad campaign and marketing strategy. Never mention you competitor in your advertising. Instead, pretend you operate in a vacuum. Don't blow your advertising budget promoting your competition!


BullShots! is written by Fred Pagano, and is published by Brown Cow Studios of Boston.

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