• Aug 6, 2008
Despite Ford's mostly successful efforts to yank its product line along by the earlobes, it still needs to find cost savings. To that end, the advertising arms of the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury divisions have been combined, bucking the traditional Balkanization in the marketing wing.

Ford traditionally maintained separate sales and marketing groups, though a single person did serve as brand overlord for all three. Now, the marketing and sales efforts will be by product type, rather than brand, so the Edge team will also shill the MKX, for example. To execute this change, a game of musical chairs has been going on, with Brett Wheatley moving from general manager for Lincoln-Mercury to the customer incentives group, Lincoln brand manager Tom Grill will be joining the global marketing group, while global media manager for Ford, Mark Kaline, has separated from the Blue Oval. This deck shuffling may wind up with a good marketing hand, or it could be a whole bunch of worthless cards.

[Source: AdAge]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't worry . . . in 2-3 years Ford will switch it back to a divisional structure.

      It's no wonder why these automakers rarely build any momentum. Every time they have a new VP, they change the structure to suit his tastes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Save more money and don't advertise Mercury at all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ford seriously needs to adjust their image and create a new youth-oriented brand. the name 'ford', the ford logo, and the image surrounding the brand is extremely boring. yes, it is a lot of work, but if they had say a brand similar to scion which was extremely well thought out and targeted to teenagers to 30 yr olds i think it would be a good way to shift revenue source from the diminishing truck fad to younger people looking to buy their first brand new car. not to mention, getting drivers while they are young and fresh is the easiest way to build brand loyalty -- something ford is lacking compared to other companies among young drivers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why not just simply build products that people want to buy? As the failed Scion experiment has proven, you can attach a different name to a product that nobody wants and they still won't want it. I would rather see Ford invest their limited resources in building great products that will ensure their success and longevity instead of wasting it to launch a new brand that may or may not be accepted by the buying public. Ford definitely doesn't need to relive the Edsel fiasco all over again, especially given their precarious state.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't agree. I think that the company's current lag in sales are due to reasons other than the Ford name.

        1) I don't think Ford has quite hit the sweetspot as far as styling is concerned. I think the next generation of products based on Ford's excellent Euro sourced kinetic design language will fix that problem. The current crop of bland bodies attached to ultra-blingly three bar faces has not ignited any excitement from the buying public. Ford has lost their edge in the car segment to foreign competition, it will take some truly great styling (like the kinetic design language) to get people to take another look at what Ford has to offer. Bland designs attached to gimmicky grilles will not help Ford gain back any market share. The products are great under the skin, but the styling just misses the mark.

        2) The division does not have any truly compelling small car products to offer in a market that is hungry for such vehicles. The arrival of the Fiesta and next generation Focus should remedy the situation. Ford just needs to aggressively and effectively market/advertise these products when they arrive in the U.S. market. I think the upcoming Fiesta is cool enough to appeal to a younger demographic. It doesn't need a meaningless and unnecessary new brand name to increase its appeal to that demographic. It will need a well executed ad campaign to attract these buyers, however.

        Ford's money will be better spent making appropriate, stylish, well executed products and properly marketing those products than it would be gambling on creating/promoting a new brand that might quickly become irrelevant in the market (like Scion). It's the products that create the cool factor, not the brand name attached to those products.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, first of all Scion is NOT nearly as successful with the 18 - 30 market as it was when announced. Part of the problem is Scion's own fault by making the second gen cars bigger and heavier but the main problem is that, especially in this economy, 18 - 30 year olds aren't buying new cars. What Ford needs to do is rid itself of everything but it's stake in Mazda, meld their product line with their European product line and continue to work on plug-in technology.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, first of all Scion is NOT nearly as successful with the 18 - 30 market as it was when announced. Part of the problem is Scion's own fault by making the second gen cars bigger and heavier but the main problem is that, especially in this economy, 18 - 30 year olds aren't buying new cars. What Ford needs to do is rid itself of everything but it's stake in Mazda, meld their product line with their European product line and continue to work on plug-in technology.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So, during a time when Ford is losing billions of dollars per quarter and the survival of the company is at stake, you want them to find more billions to start a new brand? Realizing that they are having a hard time finding content for their third brand (Mercury) as it is, and that developing all-new models for a new "youth" brand would take years and still more money that Ford doesn't have?
        Not to mention that Ford is one of the most recognizable brand names in the world, why would they want to throw that away?

        Even if Ford was flush with cash, the "fun youth brand" thing has been wearing thin with Scion already, as discussed on this very blog just a day or two ago. The number of young people who are buying new cars is not that big, and with Ford soon to begin producing the (hopefully) reasonably priced and fun to drive Fiesta and Euro Focus, they should have some good offerings as it is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        well, i didn't mean that they have to follow scion's footsteps. i meant that they should try to start fresh on a new brand with a style/image they want that is of more interest to younger buyers.

        i think that ford is already building products people want to buy, but no one is interested because it is "ford". and, even if it is a well known brand in the world, that doesn't mean anything. for example, the ford fusion to me is a nice car, but it's a "ford". pontiac did a good job i believe in changing the perception of the brand and if the fusion was launched under pontiac my guess it would sell better than under the ford brand.

        also -- just to clarify i meant adding another brand to their portfolio, obviously not ditching what they have now. what they have now serves purpose for 30> market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know, seeing how badly the domestic market is doing right now, Ford seems to be the one doing the most to stay alive and kicking... GM should take note.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I know how they can save money...

      LEAVE KNIGHT RIDER ALONE!

      It'll be easy, you can just have the Mustang crushed somewhere or be involved in some huge explosion... and then it'll be replaced by not a POS.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Mustang, while not the best sports car around, is no POS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I know the easy way to save money on marketing... stop changing car names.

      Taurus, no, 500, no Taurus, and Taurus X.
      Aerostar, Windstar, Freestar, now Flex.
      Tempo, Contour, now Fusion.
      Fiesta/Festiva, Aspire, now Focus.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Fiesta/Festiva, Aspire, now Focus."

        WRONG.

        The Focus replaced the Escort. The Fiesta has nothing in common with the platform or market position, and the Festiva and Aspire were both Asian imports which were re-branded.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Come on... we all know a NAME is the main reason a car sells or doesn't!!!

        :) :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I know the easy way to save money on marketing... stop changing car names.

        Taurus, no, 500, no Taurus, and Taurus X.
        Aerostar, Windstar, Freestar, now Flex.
        Tempo, Contour, now Fusion.
        Fiesta/Festiva, Aspire, now Focus."

        500 was a Crown Vic replacement
        Taurus was cancelled
        Fusion was introduced as a Taurus Replacement
        Fusion is selling like hot cakes
        Taurus name was in the wind, gave it to 500
        Aerostar was a compact minivan
        Windstar was renamed to Freestar
        Flex has more to do with NOTHING than any other vehicle and is totally new as a crossover, not an SUV, VAN or Minivan

        Tempo was cancelled, Countour was a world platform car, Fusion is new Escort, not Contour! :)

        Fiesta/Festiva/Aspire
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does this mean I can get a Fusion or Taurus that sounds like a jet? like in the MKS commercial?

      I'd get a Caddy before the lincoln unless it came with those sounds. sweet music to the ears. almost as a good as a 69 mustang with glass packs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would really hate to be the guy getting lumbered with flogging all the SUV's like the Lincoln Navigator, Ford Exploder, Expedition... etc

      Especially given the current turnaround in the product line up, the person given the job of shifting this line of vehicles will be playing the role of "captain of the titanic" just this time they will have to do it without the band.
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