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Link: www.wsj.com

Ford's Latest Better Idea: Its New Ad Campaign Aligns With Dealers Slogan: 'Drive One'

By MIKE SPECTOR - The Wall Street Journal - March 18, 2008; Page B1

Over the years, Ford Motor Co. made quality "Job One" and asked if you've driven one lately. More recently, it has run through less memorable advertising slogans, proclaiming "No Boundaries" and "Bold Moves."

Now, as a critical part of Chief Executive Alan Mulally's turnaround campaign, Ford is gearing up a marketing push that will take a new approach to attacking an age-old problem for Detroit -- the steady defection of once-loyal customers to foreign auto makers like Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. For years, Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have mainly tried to win back customers through big-budget advertising campaigns driven from Detroit, often with little coordination with dealers, who spent millions of dollars in local ads.

The campaign, which will begin next month, features a new tagline -- "Ford. Drive One" -- developed in meetings with dealers in the last several months, according to a person briefed on the campaign. While the slogan will appear in television commercials, Ford is counting on aligning dealers nationwide to echo the same message in their advertising efforts aimed at local audiences, this person said.

"In the past, when it came to the corporate or Ford primary brand campaign, it was their campaign, they developed it on their own and let the dealers know what it was going to be," says Mark Smith, president of Smith Ford Inc. near Kansas City, Mo. and the chairman of Ford's dealer council marketing committee. "I'd say there's been a little bit of frustration among the dealer body."

The campaign, which was outlined to Ford's board of directors last week, is the brainchild of Jim Farley, the former Toyota marketing wiz whom Mr. Mulally hand-picked last year to torque up Ford's image in the market, and it could make or break Mr. Mulally's tenure at Ford.

Consideration is an especially pressing issue now for Ford and GM: After years of focusing on high-margin pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, both have markedly improved the quality of their cars. But about half of the people shopping for cars simply ignore them, according to J.D. Power and Associates. Ford's own internal research shows its approval rating at just 44%, according to Mr. Farley's board presentation, below the 49% garnered by GM's Chevrolet brand and Toyota's healthy 74%.

Ford hopes to boost those numbers with new vehicles such as the Ford Flex, a seven-seater small SUV that has received positive buzz. In a meeting last week, Mr. Farley told Ford's board of directors he hopes to establish "Drive One" as the auto industry's answer to Nike's "Just Do It" -- an enduring tagline that has inspired customers and represented the company for years, a person familiar with the meeting said. In the last few years, Ford has switched taglines several times without finding one that works.

This newest slogan harkens back to what was arguably Ford's last major successful tagline that began in 1980: "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?" Mr. Mulally has uttered that slogan at every opportunity since taking the helm at Ford in an effort to entice customers to dealerships.

By working closely with dealers, Mr. Farley aims to build a grass-roots "army of Ford brand advocates," he told the board, the person familiar with the meeting said. The traditional, top-down campaigns that the Big Three have run in the past have achieved "nothing," he said in his board presentation, this person said.

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I can't really remember any slogan since "Have You Driven a Foooord Late-ly?" Although I do like the sticker I see on Chevy trucks: "Have you driven over a Ford, lately?" :D I do like the new slogan, it's exactly what a slogan should be, I think. And it is waaaaaaaaayyyy better than Pontiac is Car. :rolleyes:
 

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First, get some good product. the Edge, and the Fusion are not enough. THEN get a good slogan. "Ford. Drive One." is actually like barking an order at someone.
 

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Ford hopes to boost those numbers with new vehicles such as the Ford Flex, a seven-seater small SUV that has received positive buzz.
The Flex is far from small.

Also, if the crowd in the Ford area of the Chicago Auto Show was any indicator the was a buzz about it all right... that it was a big 'ol ugly box.
 

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I personally liked "Built for the Road Ahead" but I am confident the new tagline will be MUCH more than just a tag line and will actually be accompanied by decent marketing.

Bold Moves was originally a great marketing plan, but the top brass (Mark Fields' biggest mistake to date) stripped it off the most meaningful parts leaving only the ads - meaningless ads.

Igor
 

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I was hoping they would do this:
Moving Ford
you know like:
Toyota: Moving Forward
except:
Ford: Moving Ford

I still hope they get something better that the fusion and soon then they can have two good small cars focus and fusion right now its just all the focus, which could stand to gain a few more MPGs but at least its compitaint unlike the cobalt, and myself.
 

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:D:rolleyes:
I can't really remember any slogan since "Have You Driven a Foooord Late-ly?" Although I do like the sticker I see on Chevy trucks: "Have you driven over a Ford, lately?" I do like the new slogan, it's exactly what a slogan should be, I think. And it is waaaaaaaaayyyy better than Pontiac is Car.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing ... can't recall many slogans, but I absolutely agree that it's better than 'Pontiac is Car'.
 

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I can't really remember any slogan since "Have You Driven a Foooord Late-ly?" Although I do like the sticker I see on Chevy trucks: "Have you driven over a Ford, lately?" :D I do like the new slogan, it's exactly what a slogan should be, I think. And it is waaaaaaaaayyyy better than Pontiac is Car. :rolleyes:

Sounds like Ford is becoming desperate. haha They should of just added please!! afterward! lol Or Ford. Drive One Please?!? haha I believe Pontiac's is better, but not by much.
 

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It's actually a shorter version of there real slogan "Drive one.....please for gosh sake somebody please drive one, anybody please we're dying here." But "drive one" sounds better...
 

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Drive One?!?!?!!? BAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Are they having a contest with Pontiac for worst slogan?
Reminds me of that Semi Pro commercil that Farrell did for Bud Light
"Bud Light, Suck One!"
 

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:D:rolleyes:Yeah, I was thinking the same thing ... can't recall many slogans, but I absolutely agree that it's better than 'Pontiac is Car'.
How about the best tagline of them all...."Built Ford Tough" Obviously if you feel that Ford offers an inferior product that slogan just reinforces that their trucks are pieces of crap. However, Pontiac is Car....how about....Pontiac is GM Badge Engineering at its Best!
 

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Drive One?!?!?!!? BAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Are they having a contest with Pontiac for worst slogan?
Reminds me of that Semi Pro commercil that Farrell did for Bud Light
"Bud Light, Suck One!"
Agreed. This is going to go down as one of the worst tag lines of all
time. They should have adopted the European tag line, then bring over
more product from Europe too. Get rid of the lame American Focus, and
replace it with it's far superior European cousin.
 

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I always thought it should be "Ford. Tow One"
It goes well with the old acronyms:
Found
On
Road
Dead

or reverse it,
Driver
Returns
On
Foot

:lmao:
 
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