Ford Ad Seeks to Revive Anti-Bailout Fervor

Ford press conference

A new commercial (after the break) by Ford features Chris, an F-150 owner, who doesn’t talk about his truck. He says he bought it because he “wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw.”

This ad, part of the company’s Drive One campaign, proposes that patriotism is never having to buy from a bailed-out company, like GM or Chrysler. The prospect of buying an Asian or German brand never comes up.

The scene is a phony press conference, and everything about the ad reads “cheap shot.” Especially when you realize that Ford, while it didn’t declare bankruptcy, came very close. In fact, in 2008 Senate hearings CEO Alan Mulally supported the bailout and made strong remarks about the solidarity of the auto industry.

The ad plays flagrant politics by reviving old controversies over the bailout. Though chauvinists will cheer it, let’s hope for a big backlash against ads like this, because the last thing the auto industry needs (or any of us needs) is to start inflaming political opinion and reopening old wounds.

Then we’ll have GM and Chrysler ads countering with man-on-the-street interviews talking about Ford’s outsourcing, in particular with the Fiesta, and in particular sending thousands of U.S. jobs around the globe.

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