Ford Battles GM—Over Super Bowl Ad

February 6th, 2012

Chevrolet's Super Bowl Silverado ad

In Mexico, where I watched the Super Bowl and drank mezcal with friends, ESPN cut away to Mexican ads, so I missed out on the much-ballyhooed car commercials. We watched stuff like DoveMenCare with only a quick shot of a Maserati.

But the U.S. ads were all online this morning, including the much-praised Chrysler-Clint Eastwood “inspirational” ode to Detroit, and most were frankly pretty asinine. I know, this will likely be a minority opinion.

The dumbest, by far, was Chevy’s end-of-the-world drama featuring the Silverado. (Anything featuring a Barry Manilow track in the background is bound to be bad.) As destruction reigns and frogs rain from the sky, only the Silverados survive. “Dave,” driving a Ford, didn’t make it, and the guys celebrate by eating Twinkies.

Ford made its own mistake by complaining and requesting that GM pull the ad. GM said no, and marketing chief Joel Ewanick had a field day crowing about the ad and giggling over Ford’s response, which, indeed, was whiny and accomplished nothing. Ford ran no Super Bowl ads, which, it acknowledged, had been a mistake.

One may well ask what this childish nonsense has to do with selling cars and why GM would deliberately incite a pissing contest with its crosstown rival. I don’t know. Car marketing seems to have gone so far off the mark—with its reliance on dogs and other animals (Volkswagen, Suzuki, Hyundai) and total irrelevancy (Toyota’s Camry ad)—that it may never recover.

Audi’s vampire ad below is maybe the worst of the lot.

The only interesting thing about it is to wonder what was said during the “creative” discussions at Venables Bell & Partners, the agency that produced this monstrosity of irrelevancy.

So, almost by default, the Clint Eastwood ad that Chrysler ran stood out against the pack. It was sentimental, yes, patriotic (always potent during the Super Bowl), and well-produced. Thanks, Chrysler, for a moment of audiovisual relief.

I think the sense of humor in America, particularly in car marketing, has been on a steep decline. Do you agree?

—jgoods

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  1. Randy
    | #1

    I can’t agree about the demise of humor in America. After all, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich fighting it out to run against Obama is proof positive that at least, the Republicans are capable of producing the ultimate joke.

    Last year’s VW ad was really funny but this years just proves that it’s almost impossible to make a sequel, especially when you’re derivative in the first place.

    The Chevy truck ad was yet another great example of GM pi–ing away millions on dumb, ineffective ads. I doubt anyone pondering the purchase of a Ford pickup (NUMBER ONE, BABY) will be moved to Chevy in hopes of surviving and alien apocalypse.

    And the Chrysler ad was even more pathetic than the previous one. After all, the rise and success of the foreign competition that crucified the US auto industry was caused primarily by the shoddy quality and contempt of customers shown by US automakers and their employees, and the willingness of companies like Chrysler and GM to destroy American cities by flipping factories for tax rebates and moving parts production out of the country, to the point where it’s hard to tell where a car is really made. Of all the domestics, Chrysler makes the biggest gas hogs and now that you’ll see gas hit $4 a gallon by April (with a fighting chance of hitting $5 as soon as our Pentagon friends get their way and attack Iran this year).

  2. Greg
    | #2

    Got to love this commercial !!! I bought a new ford ranger and had nothing but trouble with sense I drove it off the lot. The ford dealership and ford corporation blames each other for the problems but neither one of them would help me, kinda shows the junk that ford builds and sales and then don’t stand behind. Never again will I buy another ford as long as I live, hell I will buy Toyota truck before I will ever think about a junk ford. Ford trucks are like that cheap toilet paper it falls apart before you can wipe your a$$!!!

  1. | #1
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