New Ford brand spots leave out blue oval
The Ford blue oval is one of the most famous brand symbols in the world. So why did Ford go out of its way to leave the oval out of its latest brand commercials, which began appearing on TV last week?
The 30- and 60-second spots, featuring Ford's new brand slogan, "Go Further," don't show the blue oval. In fact, the logo has even been obscured on the vehicles shown in the commercials: the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, Escape, Focus ST and Fiesta.
And the voice-over doesn't mention Ford.
Jim Farley, Ford group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said Ford wants to reach a special group of customers who may have old prejudices about Ford: customers on the import-dominated West, East and South coasts.
"I would like to see a nationwide almost 'Obama electionlike' conversation online about what people think about Ford and what the reality of our products is today," Farley said in a statement.
"I'm OK if some people don't like the brand or if they don't like this vehicle or that vehicle, but at least they're engaged. If you can engage people, your brand is going somewhere."
The spots show the vehicles in a studio and feature some of Ford's latest technology, including MyFord Touch, EcoBoost engines and the hands-free liftgate on the 2013 Escape.
As the camera pans over the vehicles, a voice says: "Right now there are more than 20 brands of cars being sold in North America. So let's say you were starting with all new cars. What would you have to do to stand out? You would have to go further."
The commercials, which were to run for a week on shows such as "House," "Dancing with the Stars," "2 Broke Girls" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" direct customers to a Web site, gofurther.com, to find out more. A Ford spokesman said Ford would begin phasing in the Ford logo and brand this week.
Ford said its statistics show that consumers on the three coasts represent 70 percent of total retail car buyers, compared with 30 percent in the Midwest and central regions of the country where Ford traditionally has been strongest.
For example, Ford data show that Ford has a 15 percent market share in the Great Lakes region, to Toyota's 11 percent. But on the East Coast, Toyota enjoys a 17 percent share compared with 9 percent for Ford.
Farley thinks the time is right to change that.
"We're at the tipping point in the U.S.," he says, "where we have enough global DNA, product evidence that says we are truly different. We are at this magical time where we have finished [launching the] Focus, we've started the prelaunch campaign for Escape, and we're getting ready to start the Fusion."
You can reach Bradford Wernle at email@example.com.