What the hell is going on at Ford?

Ford Bold Moves Ad/Marketing/Blog campaignDo you have to be desperate to be good? In the case of Ford Motor Company, the answer is yes. The American people love the truth and they love an underdog … is the headline that caught my eye in a frame that could have been excised from a punk rock band documentary. The Ford Bold Moves campaign is a hail mary pass from an American industrial icon that is in danger of fading into oblivion. Its answer? An online documentary series that begins with Change or Die. 

The documentary series is being produced by JWT Detroit and JWT New York, and directed by Radical Media Inc., a New York-based production company. The language, and the images, are radical. No more B.S. … constructive conflict…  Then there are the blog comments that seem unfiltered and are sometimes unflattering (Just build us a great car and get out of the way. We don’t want to think about our cars. Toyota gets it. Why don’t you?)

Ford is betting that resurrecting the Shelby Mustang will create a halo around the company and lift its image and generate sales. Blog postings show that skepticism reigns and some believe that “No more B.S.” is another form of B.S. Others post surprisingly informed and passionate views in a Point/Counterpoint to the idea of the death of the American car.

The look and feel of this whole campaign is edgy, a roll of the dice, a bold adventure.  On a visceral level it says that Ford is revamping the company from the ground up, from how they think and operate, to how they produce cars. Can this campaign accelerate internal change and external perception? Stay tuned.

Ford Bold Moves



Mark Rose, New York


  1. [...] Since I wrote the post What The Hell is Going on at Ford?, July 24, 2006, I have kept a close eye on Ford. How could you not? They are major business news – one of the goliath Top Three US auto companies fighting for its life.  The question six months ago was: can its Bold Moves blog, social media and ad campaign re-brand the company and drive it toward profitability. The answer is obviously a resounding no, as Ford today reported staggering losses. See Ford Reports Biggest Loss Ever (CNNMoney.com).  Weak sales of its key pickup trucks in the quarter and $9.9 billion in after-tax charges due to employee buyouts and plant closing plans resulted in $12.7 billion loss for 2006. That works out to a loss of just over $24,000 a minute throughout the course of the year, or about the price of a Ford Mustang – Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com, 1/25/07 [...]

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