As soon as our chat commenced, I discovered that “transparency” was the name of JWT’s game. My bright eyed and tie-less adtagonist wanted to know if I– or anyone else– gave Ford props for letting JWT’s camera crew record, edit and post a “warts and all” look behind the scenes of the automaker’s recent struggles. To his credit, the ad guy didn’t seem to care when I said nobody (other than industry wonks and highly paid advertising executives) cared about Ford’s bold new blog. He remained unperturbed when I declared that the films had about as much edge as a beach ball, and that Ford is doomed. Like I said: editing.
Later, as I watched the sun set over Connecticut, I concluded that Ford and JWT just don’t get it. Using the internet as an alternative channel for corporate PR– no matter how “hard hitting”– isn’t a bold move. It’s the same old you-know-what in a different wrapper. As for the interactive part of the program, the “Ford responds” section of the site is a cruel joke. An anonymous Ford rep– no name, title or email– answers a carefully selected question. Surfers post their reactions. Then… nothing. It’s a total disconnect between consumer passion and Ford reaction that highlights the company’s ignorance, arrogance and intransigence.
I recently bought a car, and the shopping experience alone could fuel a few AdPulp postings and Talent Zoo columns as I truly didn’t have one car model I was hell-bent on buying. For what it’s worth, I made what was for me was a Bold Move and test-drove a Ford Escape Hybrid. The salesman couldn’t tell me anything about the hybrid system itself. Needless to say, he blew a potential sale.