Drive One, You’ll Like It

According to Adweek, Ford management has asked its 750,000-person network of employees, retirees and dealers to talk to friends and family about the quality and features of Ford vehicles.
The new marketing initiatve created by JWT/Wunderman, known as Drive One is also supported online, in print and on TV.

“The whole idea behind this campaign is not fancy ads. It’s talking to the customer, who talks to a friend,” said Jim Farley group vp, marketing and communications. “It’s the only chance we have to break the apathy.”
When Farley was recruited from Toyota and hired by Ford last October, he was determined to “get people to care about [Ford].” He said, “They just aren’t engaged.”

Well, that’s certainly some straight talk form the executive suite. A good start, perhaps.
I like that the people asked to spread WOM are qualified to do so. We tend to think WOM as a customer-to-customer conversation, but it’s bigger than that.
I can also see where this campaign has the potential to become annoying. Imagine an already over zealous Ford dealer talking car facts over an otherwise pleasant golf outing. That would be bothersome. But handled correctly this idea could go far. That is, it can go far if the 750,000 employees, retirees and dealers honestly feel good about the recommendations they make. They have to be true believers. And true believers aren’t conjured up in a brainstorm, they’re born from the product itself. Are Ford cars and trucks worth believing in? If the answer is yes, then maximizing WOM is a good plan.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.