Ford will experiment with a more humorous advertising style in Germany next month.
The automaker traditionally launches advertising campaigns that concentrate on promoting product quality and value. Some people think the ads are dull.
But starting February 1 German television viewers will see a witty commercial for the Ford Ka that began life as an Internet joke.
The ad shows a pigeon sitting on a branch looking at a Ka parked outside a suburban home.
The bird swoops down to bomb the car, but at the last minute the car hood springs up and knocks out the bird.
The advertisement was first seen last September on Ford's UK website. Web visitors could e-mail it to their friends.
Ford estimates that more than 1 million people saw the ad on the website.
The sheer volume of downloads, along with requests from German dealers to run the ad on television, persuaded Ford marketing bosses in Germany to start showing the ad.
"We were stunned by the feedback," said Jürgen Stackmann, Ford Germany's marketing director.
"We also liked the advert's attitude. It is more aggressive, edgy and fresh."
Ford of Europe has been moving to get more emotion into its advertising – spurred by the arrival last year of a new president, Lewis Booth.
Booth, who came to Ford of Europe from Mazda, told managers they should "sex up" Ford's image to appeal to young, affluent buyers.
"Lewis asked us to be more outgoing and create a more emotional profile," said Stackmann. "We probably wouldn't have done this a year ago."
The new "gutsy and edgy" tone of the advertising also works well because Ka is such a stylish car, Stackmann said.
The new edgier image would be in line with the upcoming car launches.
Stackmann said that the advertisement "is a true market test to see if this is a viable market positioning for Ford."