Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
23 April 2018
Ford advertising. Find someone new.
News that Ford advertising might be leaving advertising giant WPP rocks the advertising world. However, the agency with 49 offices across the world will be allowed to defend its position as Ford’s agency of record.
But maybe Ford should look elsewhere. As I’ve said before, automakers are gerbils trapped in a spinning wheel when it comes to its advertising. It’s all the same.
“But how do you differentiate between the auto brands themselves? They run so many look-alike ads that you can’t tell one from another. They just blend into each other.”
The emotional pull remains living our life to the fullest. That’s not a terrible message. And at least automakers attempt reflecting an aspirational identification of the viewer/driver. That’s more than most industries.
But how do you differentiate between the auto brands themselves? They run so many look-alike ads that you can’t tell one from another. They just blend into each other. There’s little to immediately suggest the spot above is Ford advertising. It could be GM or Toyota or Chrysler. They simply fail to build brand preference.
Why does Ford advertising look like everybody else’s?
The reason for all this sameness is because the car brands fill agency vacancies like an NBA team. Just using the same coach (agency) someone else has fired. That’s why I’m not exactly weeping for WPP. Another manufacturer will come hopping to its door, asking for it to take over its advertising.
When the same handful of agencies work for all the manufacturers, just switching from one to another, the advertising guarantees to be bland.
Of course, Ford isn’t doing so badly itself. It ranks second to GM in US market share, and its F series truck stands as America’s best seller. But how many folks are actually loyal to the Ford brand? How would you even describe the Ford brand in terms of how it’s different and better than its competition?
You can’t. Ford advertising looks, sounds and feels like any advertising from a competitor. So, instead of there being loyalty to the Ford brand, people simply choose among the models of all the manufacturers. In fact, buyers’ only general thought about the parent brands is which one (or two) they would eliminate based on past experience or reputation.
So, please, Ford. WPP served its purpose. Find someone new.
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