July 19, 2006

An Open Letter to the Ford Motor Co.

MEMORANDUM

TO: Bill Ford

FR: Benjamin Kepple

RE: Possibilities

Dear Mr Ford,

AS A PROUD Ford Taurus (or similar) driver for roughly 15 years, I have been extremely pleased with my cars’ performance, reliability and safety features. My Ford vehicles, both new and used, have consistently made my drives greatly enjoyable and quite economical. I’m also convinced that, during a bad accident on the highway, my Ford Taurus even saved my life.

That said, if you don’t stop airing that “Possibilities” commercial during Red Sox games, I’m buying a goddam Honda.

Well, OK, maybe I wouldn’t. Still, for the love of God, please make the commercials stop. They are single-handedly ruining my Ford ownership experience. Even worse, they are destroying any smidgen of coolness which may have been associated with Ford ownership. These commericals of yours are so bad they’re tagging the Ford brand with a distinct aura of lameness; an aura which shouts to the world, LOOK UPON MY CAR, YE PEOPLE, AND SNICKER.

I’m sorry, but it’s just depressing. A proud customer of one of America’s two remaining carmakers ought not have to suffer through lame commercials in which some yokel singer spins around like an aging baby boomer overdosing on disco music. I don’t care if the man won “American Idol.” He’s spectacularly uncool and spectacularly annoying and spectacularly miscast. Plus, as I have it on good authority, the song gets stuck in everybody’s heads and drives people crazy. This fills people with an undying hatred of Ford and Ford products.

For that matter, what the hell were your advertising people thinking when they signed the winner of “American Idol” to star in your commericals, commercials with the stated aim of emphasising Ford’s “bold” attributes?

Dude. Having the winner of “American Idol” star in your commercial is not bold. Having the winner of “American Idol” sing a lame-ass paean to baby boomer rebellion is not bold. Having the winner of “American Idol” spin around like a whirling dervish while singing it is roughly as bold as having a high school drama class perform “The Music Man” at its spring concert. In other words, not frickin’ bold.

Now, look at this commercial. This is bold. It’s also rather funny. But in general, it fits the definition of bold:

See! That’s bold! Bold wins! Unfortunately, in this case, it also means that Toyota wins. As such, maybe you should try to develop commercials like Toyota has done. For instance, perhaps you could emphasize how well the Ford Taurus protects its drivers and passengers, even during a massive collision with an eighteen-wheeler on I-94. After all, you’ve pretty much caught up on the quality front, so now it’s just a question of being cool and with it.

In the meantime, be bold. Start by going down to JWT Detroit and breaking things in the account manager’s office, or something. Don’t worry, at Ford, there’s precedent for that sort of thing. Besides, J. Walter Thompson wouldn’t have put up with this crap, and neither should you. After all, last time I checked, Quality is still Job #1.

All best,


Ben Kepple

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 19, 2006 11:21 PM | TrackBack
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