Tag Archives: Team Detroit

Ford Mimics Movie Ads

Auto advertising for seasonal clear-out sales are often boring. Many look the same.

The most common ingredients are running footage, someone talking VERY loudly and on-screen deals. Sometimes the marketers use existing commercials, but shorten them to add in info about the special deals.

The Ford brand thinks it has a better idea for its sales event this summer.

The Big Idea for Ford’s so-called “Summer Spectacular”event stemmed from the annual hot-weather blockbuster season for movies.

Each of the dozen new : 30 spots looks like a movie trailer. The first few seconds of all the spots are the same, showing the name “Ford,” but no cars. In addition, there’s four separate versions aimed at the Hispanic market, starring actor Cristian de la Fuente.

The brand believes the executions will not only break through the clutter, but boost the brand’s image and consideration, David Mondragon, general marketing manager for Ford and Lincoln, told me. Ford has increased favorable opinion on its brand by 20 points since 2008.

Ford’s ad agency, WPP Group’s TeamDetroit in Dearborn, tapped two Hollywood directors known for their prolific work on movie trailers. Kurt Mattila and Kyle Cooper, both of Prologue Films,have worked on movie trailers, including 2008’s “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk,”: respectively.

Here’s one of my favorites– for the C-Max Hybrid- directed by Cooper

The Focus spot directed by Mattila features a love-sick vampire trying to convince his girlfriend not to break up with him. Other movie genres include the Super Duty pickup as a super hero; surfing for the Fiesta and a spy-chase for the Mustang GT.

But when you’re creating so many unique spots, there’s bound to be one or two that just aren’t as compelling.

To me, that’s this one- for the Escape, called “The Heist”

While it does cover the bases for the Escape’s cool features and benefits, it just feels forced.

You can see all the spots here

 FYI, during a Google hangout Ford’s social media maven Scott Monty did with director Mattila, it leaked that Ford will be making a special product announcement at Comic-Con International’s Convention coming up later this week in San Diego.

 In the past, Ford has used TV star and narrator Mike Rowe for sales events. Mondragon told me Rowe “is a great asset for Ford,” having narrated the recently-ended Eco Boost Challenge ads, and still doing Ford service and and truck ads.

Earlier this year, the brand’s regional dealer advertising adopted the same ad creative process used by the national team. Instead of just TeamDetroit developing the creative, multiple WPP shops get Ford’s brief and submit ideas, Mondragon said.

The TV buy includes both national and regional, airing through August. Ford and its regional dealer ad associations are spending as much on media for this as for the national buy. The buy includes 90% of movie theaters in the US during July and August, says. Mondragon, who served CEO of Ford of Canada for more than three years,

To extend buzz and reach, the media plan is integrated with a movie-ticket giveaway on moviefone.com, called the Summer Spectacular Movie Ticket Giveaway plus $3 off movie rentals on Amazon.com.

Ford will soon be announcing four movie nights that will take over theaters to display vehicles, show the ads and offer a movie to hand-raisers. Dealers will also be inviting customers.

The automaker started the Ford Summer Spectacular Giveaway of 2013 models this month. To enter to win one of the 10 vehicles, visitors to fordeventgiveaway.com must view videos touting the product features and benefits. The site has a link to Facebook if visitors want to get their friends involved.

It’s encouraging to see Ford trying something different for a sales event.

Doing something different doesn’t always work, as evidenced by the Limited Engagement Spring Event work this year from Nissan’s Infiniti brand.

Check it out and you’ll see what I mean

At first glance doesn’t it seem to be a clothing commercial? It IS visually interesting, but it takes too long to get to the point. Sorry, TBWA/Chiat/Day- it’s off the mark.

One male viewer on YouTube posted this wise crack :“Guys, the takeaway from this commercial is: Drive an Infiniti and the ladies’ clothes will just fall right off “

Clearly, that wasn’t what Infiniti was going for.

 MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to David Murphy, who is moving to Michigan to become president-USA of WPP’s TeamDetroit in Dearborn on August 1. davidMurphyTeamDetroit

Murphy has worked on car accounts over his career, including Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota.

Follow me, Jean Halliday on LinkedIn and Facebook.  On Twitter @jhal2001

Ford Fusion Makes Rivals “Invisible”

Ford Motor Co. will be hammering away at how darn good-looking its 2013 Ford Fusion is in the multi-media launch blitz.

The automaker isn’t off base with this strategy, since the redone midsize sedan has gotten a slew of very positive ink for its good looks – not really a staple in the segment.

“The media  launch of the Fusion will showcase how Ford is shaking up the bland midsize sedan segment,” said Jim Farley, exec VP and group VP of global marketing, sales and service. “Why do car buyers have to sacrifice styling and forward-looking design for fuel economy? They don’t.”

This isn’t the first time a carmaker  has zeroed in on styling to push a midsize sedan. Most memorably, Nissan and its ad agency , TBWA, used “Cure for the Common Car” in fall 2001 to launch the 2002 Altima. Still, styling hasn’t traditionally been the focus to advertise cars in this category.

Ford and its ad agency, WPP Group’s Team Detroit in Dearborn, hired Chinese artist Liu Bolin as a consultant for the print ads. Bolin is known around the world for painting his body and clothes to camouflage himself in photographs and he helped TeamDetroit create print ads that make competitors’ cars invisible.

This behind-the-scenes video will give you a better look at Team Detroit’s Big Idea

The look of the ads is pretty cool and the Big Idea works with the strategy without being obnoxious or naming rivals.

The new Fusion is also on the back cover of Maxim’s annual “Best Stuff of the Year issue, due Nov. 18. Ford’s Mustang is on the magazine’s cover – a nice double play. Toby Barlow, chief creative officer of Team Detroit, said the magazine approached Ford, not visa versa.

Amy Marentic, group marketing manager at Ford,  said the Fusion launch ads try to use design and technology to stand out in the crowded midsize segment. “We also knew we had to appeal to the rational side, and the most rational thing about this car is the fuel economy,” she said.

So the ads do mention MPG. The theme line in the TV spots is : It’s an entirely new idea of what a car can be.”

The agency extended the “disappearing” act of the print ads to one of its three national TV commercials, like this :30 one :

The final editing of the final two spots got delayed by Super Storm Sandy; the outfit doing the work is based in lower Manhattan. One touts “while everyone else seems to be going in the wrong direction, Ford is not just going forward, it’s going in an entirely new direction.”

But the third spot is the most dramatic. This commercial, for the Fusion Hybrid, touts the car’s “outstanding performance” and estimated 100 mpg range.  It also shows viewers the only thing the car can’t do- drive off a cliff. Yes, Team Detroit “jumped” a new Fusion in a one-take shot in Vancouver and the ad should attract eyeballs. Once it breaks, there will be a behind-the-scenes video of how the spot was made. (The car used in the stunt isn’t drivable, Barlow said).

In typical Ford fashion, this big media part of the launch came only after a major pre-launch that started digitally with a big push in July. Marentic said Farley challenged her team to encourage 300,000 consumers to build and price the new Fusion before it went on sale.

Enter “Random Acts of Fusion,” a massive social media, online video effort starring Ryan Seacrest, Joel McHale and Kate Micucci. Ford launched the push on national TV in July, along with the site RandomActsofFusion.com. The push included scavenger hunts, local events and chances to win one of 3 Fusions.

In this video, McHale and Micucci explain how they’re going to create a documentary with the 100 new Fusions they got from Secrest.

OK. Not the funniest video ever and the others are similar in tone. Still, Ford said 2 million people have visited the Random site, which tallied more than 12 million video views. Plus, the push nearly doubled Farley’s goal for online Fusion build-and-pricing by consumers, reaching more than 520,000, Marentic said.

Ford isn’t done yet for the Fusion. Coming Thursday, Nov, 15 is “Go Further with Ford Night” at local dealers, named for the brand’s new ad tag. For each person who visits a participating Ford dealer that night, the dealer will donate $10 – up to a total of $500 – to a local charity. Some 2,200 Ford dealers have already signed up to participate, Marentic said. People who register at a dealership that day will be entered into a prize drawing to win a new Fusion.

Visitors 18 and older can also try to win a VIP trip to see the popular “American Idol” TV show by testing their talent judging skills on camera. Each dealership will have a webcam to see a special message from Seacrest before they do some judging on camera. (Ford has been a long-time backer of American Idol style, which returns in January on FOX.

Ford is certainly backing the new Fusion with a major push that should build street cred and sales for the car.

MAKING TRACKS: Ford Motor’s Jim Farley, already exec VP and group VP of global marketing, sales and service for the Ford brand, adds the Lincoln brand. Farley quickly moved Matt Van Dyke from US director of marketing communications for Ford and Lincoln to director of Lincoln globally for marketing, sales and service. He’ll report to Farley. The two men have known each other since 2000 and worked together when Farley headed Toyota’s lux Lexus brand and Van Dyke was the account chief at the brand’s ad agency, TeamOne.

Kevin Koeppen, who had been manager-advertising and media, succeeds Van Dyke.

You can find me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter at jhal2001

Who Should Be GM’s Next CMO?

AutoAdOpolis is wondering who General Motors will tap as its new CMO after the automaker unceremoniously forced Joel Ewanick to resign as VP-global CMO.

It will take a while for GM to get to it, which will give this red hot story a chance to cool down and get the media’s attention looking elsewhere. But GM SHOULD find a successor by the end of the year. It needs a strong-willed CMO to pull things together, streamline the ad approval process and improve advertising- fingers crossed on that one.

For now, GM named a sales and ops insider, Alan Batey, as interim chief.

The Brit, who joined GM in 1979 as a mechanical engineering apprentice, had held several key management posts overseas. Batey was only just moved in May to the newly-created post of GM VP for US Sales and Service from the same post at Chevrolet in the US. Nothing in his bio offers any hints at his marketing expertise. But not to worry, since the buzz is that GM will find a new CMO.

 Note to GM and its CEO Dan Akerson: Please don’t pick a sales guy or gal for your new CMO. We’ve been down that road with GM before- and let’s just say it didn’t exactly work out. Also-engineers and finance experts need not apply. GM needs another change, which translates to an outsider.

But what if GM opts to hire back one of its “grads,” now outsiders again? There are several interesting possibilities.

When I first heard about Joel’s ouster, the first name I thought of as a successor was Mark LaNeve, who left GM in 2009 shortly after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy and not long after he was moved to VP-sales from a four-year stint as VP-sales, service and marketing in North America.  But just as GM’s CMO fiasco was exploding, LaNeve was preparing to join Ford Motor’s ad agency, Team Detroit in Dearborn, as COO. Timing is everything, eh?

One of my sources, a former GM ad agency exec, suggested W.W. Brent Dewar, another GM alum. Dewar retired from post-Chapter 11 GM in early 2010 as ChevroletVP-general manager and global co-ordinator. Dewar, a 31-year vet of GM, was one of those execs either loved or not loved by insiders. According to Dewar’s Facebook postings, he certainly seems to be enjoying his times and travels with his family.

What about GM grad Mark-Hans Richer, who left in 2007 to join Harley-Davidson as senior VP-CMO? Richer has the right experience, having worked at DDB Needham Worldwide in Chicago before joining GM in 1998 as ad manager of  Chevy trucks. He has international experience too; he was director for Latin America on the McDonald’s account at DDB.

Richer is willing to take risks, having helped orchestrate a watershed media stunt as Pontiac’s marketing director to give away new G6 cars to the entire audience of Oprah Winfrey’s in September 2004.

His launch of Pontiac’s sexy, Solstice roadster should be a text-book case study. Under Richer’s baton, Pontiac won a slew ad of awards, including two Cannes Gold Lions, Gold Effies and a Super Reggie.

But I don’t think the odds are very good for a Richer return — even if GM would make make him an offer. He’s back in his home town of Milwaukee working on an iconic brand. I really think he’s having too much fun at Harley. Richer spent a week in China earlier this month to ride the Tibetan Plateau on a Harley to help kick off the brand’s 110th anniversary.

Which candidates should GM consider? Please take this quick poll

 

Thanks for your input!

MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Dan Riley, promoted to VP at Time Inc. from group ad director in Detroit since November 2008. Dan joined Time in 2001 as ad director of People.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook.

On Twitter: @jhal2001

Ford’s “Go Further” Advertising

The Ford brand is getting a lot of buzz from its new “Go Further” commercial that doesn’t vocalize the brand name or show badging on any of the vehicles.

Check out the minute-long spot

This commercial is NOT devoid of Ford branding. There are a few, very obvious clues to sharp-eyed viewers of this ad who the advertiser is. Gear heads and car enthusiasts would certainly know that the EcoBoost engines mentioned belong to Ford and Ford alone. Then at the :42 and :47 marks, the words “2013 Fusion Energi” and “Ford Motor Co.” appear on the bottom of the screen in small print for several seconds.

Bravo to Ford and its ad agency, TeamDetroit, both  in Dearborn, Michigan. This is a very smart way to reel in inquisitive people who would never consider a Ford since they would very likely to check out the gofurther.com web site appearing at the end of the commercial.

Ford says “Go Further” replaces “Drive One,” which always sounded a bit desperate and Ford’s days of desperation seem well in its rear-view mirror.

The automaker also says it’s making a conscious effort to move from showing people to showcasing what’s new in the showroom. Great move, since what is Ford selling after all? (And the move is reminiscent of the philosophy of the late, great Dick Johnson, top creative of BBDO Detroit on Dodge. See my post about Dick and his philosophy here

autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/auto-ad-world-loses-great-ad-man/

Hope this move means farewell to the “surprise press conference” format with actual Ford owners.

Ford has caught some flack for its “Go Further” line. Critics say Ford  copied the “Go Farther” ad tag that Isuzu used in USA ads starting in the late 1990s. Isuzu, which no longer sells light vehicles in the US anymore, wanted to convey the toughness and go-any where capabilities of its all-truck lineup. See what I mean in this Isuzu Rodeo commercial, one of my favorites in the series, from Isuzu’s agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. (Sorry for the lousy resolution, but it’s the only version I could find)

Yeah, the words are similar, but the intent of each auto brand’s ad tag is very different. Very different indeed, don’t you agree? Looking forward to the next versions of Ford’s “Go Farther” ads.

MAKING TRACKS:  Jack Valente, who moved to InStadium as senior VP of national business development, from client leader at Mindshare.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn

Find me on Twitter @jhal2001

Lincoln’s New Ad Approach

Lincoln has something to crow about with its 2011 MKX crossover that comes with the world’s first buttonless, driver connectivity system that feels like it’s from the future.
So what better time to change advertising?
Two years ago Lincoln started ads comparing its products to starships, a unified look across all vehicles that we liked by the way.
But Matt Van Dyke, director of marketing communications for both Ford and Lincoln in the U.S., told me the old starship campaign was working, “it just wasn’t doing all the things we wanted it to do.” He said the old ads didn’t give many product details and felt cold and impersonal.
Enter actor John Slattery as Lincoln’s new ad spokesman.The silver-haired Slattery, who was killed off in his role as Gabby’s husband on “Desperate Housewives,” plays ad agency partner Roger Sterling on AMC’s award-winning “Mad Men.”
Van Dyke describes him as “credible, sophisticated and believable for our brand.”
You be the judge

“Something New”

http://tinyurl.com/29zuwmg

“No Other Anything”

http://tinyurl.com/23swbh4

Van Dyke says Slattery “has a little bit of an edge he can bring to the message.” He also quipped that unlike Slattery’s boozy “Mad Men” character, “we didn’t give him martinis on the set” of the ad shoot.
The new blitz breaks Oct. 2 on NBC during the Ryder Cup golf tourney. WPP Group’s Team Detroit, Dearborn, Michigan, handles and also created a new spot for the 2011 MKZ Hybrid.
“All Things Equal”
http://tinyurl.com/2011hybrid

Ford’s only remaining luxury marque is also dropping the “Reach Higher” tag it introduced in fall 2005 and the brand’s third since 1999. We’re glad to see that one go, another example of a car brand tacking on a meaningless tag.
Lincoln ads will run sans a tag, which is fine and not that rare in the auto category. But the first three commercials all end with Slattery saying “It’s not just luxury, it’s smarter than that,” which certainly clicks with Lincoln’s brand positioning.
Too many Americans still think of Lincoln in terms of its sofa-like Town Car big sedan and don’t know how far the brand has come in the past several years with better new products.
So Lincoln is currently working with auto shopper web sites to develop plans to get its new models into the hands of in-market shoppers. Lincoln’s idea is to deliver one of its products to a consumer in a top luxury market to drive for a weekend.
Now that’s thinking out of the box!

Fiesta is a “PRETTY BIG DEAL”

Ford is pulling out the stops to launch its 2011 Ford Fiesta small car. Already a year in pre-launch with the bar-setting social-media gambit at fordfiesta.movement.com, this splashy :60 commercial from Team Detroit will arrive during the live broadcast of “American Idol” May 18 on Fox. And you’ll see it in theaters next month.

The commercial, and a pair of :30s from WPP Group’s Team Detroit shows off the car’s features in a fun way that’s refreshingly different for the auto category. “It’s a pretty big deal” is the theme of the blitz.
Starting at $13,995 for the sedan and $15,795 for the five-door hatch, the new Fiesta is indeed a big deal: A big batch of technology, including more than a dozen features that are first to the small B-class segment, like a 6-speed automatic tranny and LED parking lights. This is Ford’s biggest car launch of the year.
Ford is making hay over the fact that Fiesta has a better fuel economy rating from the EPA, at 40 miles per gallon, than the comparable-sized Toyota’s Yaris (36 mpg) or Honda’s Fit (35 mpg).
Ford said at a press conference today at Team Detroit that the Fiesta Movement, which started last May, has generated 132,000 hand raisers, 80% of whom are new to Ford and 30% are under 25 years old. Of the hand raisers, 11,000 shifted to make a purchase agreement with a dealer. That translates to a 14% conversion rate, which Ford said tops its typical rate of between 1 and 2%.
Get this: Matt VanDyke U.S. marketing director, said the Fiesta’s year-long prelaunch was 5 times more efficient than any other prelaunch Ford has done. Ford gave 100 “agents” active in social media a Fiesta and some sort of buzz-generating assignment every month for six months starting last May. The second round of agents, 20 teams of two people, started early this year.
The car isn’t even in showrooms yet- not ’til this summer, though Ford is being vague about exactly when.
But wait- there’s more, lots more.
A half-dozen Fiesta webisodes created by Ford-picked “agents” went live last week at http://www.fordvehicles/fiesta.com and have already tallied 500,000-plus views. Not a big fan of the “Dawn of the New Key Fob” episode, in which a zombie chases drivers of the Fiesta, Yaris and Fit through the woods. Then again, I’m not the target audience for this stuff.
Fiesta’s launch also has magazines, events, digital, out-of-home, and a major multicultural push. Zubi handled the national and local Hispanic TV and print ads, which are aimed at bi-lingual consumers and mainly in Spanish. Digital ads on portals and a social media play will direct traffic to http://www.readypatumundo.com, which means “ready for your world.” Univision created the African-American portion, which includes a national TV ad and a big radio splash.
The second round of “agents” will stage at least 100 Fiesta events between now and summer’s end.
Ford says this is its new go-to-market strategy.
Rivals, take notes ….. and learn. Imitation is the best form of flattery!