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Ford's global Focus campaign – Click above to watch commercials

Company: Ford Motor Co.

Brand: Ford

Medium: TV

Ad Agency: Team Detroit/WPP Global

Product: Focus

Campaign: Global Focus Launch

What We Like: The all-new Focus is a moonshot better than the Focus we've had in the U.S. for the last decade. While Europe got a new Focus during the Bush Administration, the U.S. got an insufficiently upgraded model with a pretty low-rent interior and no hatchback version. These new ads do a slick job of conveying that the new Focus is, in fact, new and possessing features people wouldn't expect in an economy-priced car. The seriousness of the orchestral soundtrack and the messaging may elevate the Focus above the riff-raff of the sub-compact segment. One recent Hyundai Elantra ad, for example, had a sheep driving. Kia likes Hamsters to push its cars.

What We Don't Like: To make these ads work globally and achieve the cost savings Ford was seeking, there is a lowest common denominator look and feeling to the ads Ford previewed for us. The visuals were specifically shot so they could be edited to run any place in the world with some easy editing to adapt to local needs and language. But the ads – while conveying useful information about what is, let's face it, a very rational new-car selection – aren't all that interesting. They certainly aren't entertaining – at least not the first batch we got to see. The question is whether the features spotlighted in the ads will be engaging to viewers, and make them curious enough to investigate the new Focus on the Internet.

Strategy: Ford is launching the Ford Focus, it's first truly global car under the Mulally regime, with an ambitious global ad campaign. The agency has produced some 50 TV ads to run in Ford's markets across the world, all highlighting technology and innovation like self-closing grille vents (active grille shutters), stop-start fuel saving technology (for Europe) and the like. The Focus is a critically important car for Ford, both financially and for credibility worldwide, and Ford officials say they saved tens of millions of dollars, perhaps in excess of 100 million, by getting all the markets across the world to pool their thinking and draw from a common bank of video, photography and soundtracks. That savings is being plowed back into media buys, helping each market better hit its sales targets.

Grade: B

Watch the commercials after the jump and take our poll below.

What grade would you give these ads?
A 995 (25.6%)
B 1411 (36.3%)
C 831 (21.4%)
D 219 (5.6%)
F 435 (11.2%)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not liking the idea of the automatic grill shutters at all. I have killed at least five rabbits over the past two years - I drive at night - and one came home hanging from the grill mesh by a back foot, another dislodged the undertray slightly. I'd have one of the damned things fouling up those shutters within weeks, and the fuel saving would be negated in repairs immediately, in spades!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't you have rabbits in America? I blame the Romans, they brought them over; swine. My colleagues have taken out more of the vile things than I have, and I have been lucky not to have hit deer. Two of the emergency duty team (social workers) have hit deer here at night. In both cases the cars survived, just, but only because they were small Muntjacks, not the big Red and Roe deer, which kill people. There are more deer cluttering up the countryside now than there were in the middle ages, apparently. Dangerous, and very dangerous for electro-whizzo gimmicky grill vents I'm afraid.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's gotta be the weirdest reason I've ever heard not to include an active grill shutter. You win, sir.

        But for the 99.9999% of the population that isn't constantly bombarded by rabbit carcasses, they'll be fine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There are problems with global cars. Look at last gen Focus, that car is ugly and the interior is criminal. And yet someone at Ford approved this car, someone said....let's sell it.

      So can you imagine what would happen if Ford will once again approve a bad car...........but this time on Global scale. It will hurt sales everywhere and will have pretty big financial effect.

      Going global has its rewards and its pitfalls.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea, but from the looks of it, the new Focus seems like it will be a really good car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        not all last gen focuses/foci were created equal. sure the old american focus was barely mediocre, but if ford sold the last gen european focus here, we'd prob all have different opinions about it
        • 4 Years Ago
        While not the best car in the world, the old Ford Focus wasn't terrible, and it did fine in sales. Yes, they might have had more sales than with a new design, but you have to trade that with increase costs that is associated with an all new design.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Little off topic but I think ford is missing or has missed an opportunity to play up the "we're the only non-bail out American car company" in some ads.

      Now obviously this isn't a global theme but a few ads like chyslers eminem Detroit ad would have been great. A little patriotism can go along way when you're trying to sell cars in this current environment. People, I think, really want to buy American again because we're finally cranking out great products.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was kind of hoping if I got one of these I could buy the electric car grill and swap it but the shutters probably rule that out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      These are "support" ads, used to follow-up on an Introduction ad. Although not exciting by themselves, they build on the concept presented in the original. It all comes down to telling the story 15-30 secs at a time. These support ads are what often separate the vehicle from the rest of the competition. Ford is seeking to "Focus" (word-play intended) on the product and that speaks volumes on the change that has taken place at Ford. Well Done!
      • 4 Years Ago
      As for the ads, I find them a bit self conscious and worthy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not great ads by any means. Pretty much the most basic ad you can make. Show the car, describe a feature. That's it. There's no humour, no excitement, nothing clever, nothing memorable. It's not a bad ad, but the car is deserving of something more interesting. This should be a huge car for Ford and they should try to show it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seems like an Apple ad. Focuses (ha, focuses) on a particular aspect and does it right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Enough ads. Give us the cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Problem for me is that the voiceover sounds like a CBC radio promo for the CBC. And I love the CBC, what proper Canadian doesn't? But a Ford Focus is not a radio show.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Grade = B
      They are much more “mature” than the Fiesta ads in the US. This may be a reflection of the ads being global. In other countries (where gas is more expensive), the Focus is a family car. Here the Fusion, Edge and Flex are family cars and the Focus is closer to entry level. I think the ads need to be more energetic.
      The ads are sophisticated, but too filled with facts. I dig the technology behind the air vents, but most people don’t care.
      Also, Ford is doing 20 second ads, versus 30 second. I hope they don’t air back-to-back ads because I’ve seen them do that with other 20 sec ads and it is very annoying. Like an annoying laugh, or a fart… it gets your attention, but not in a good way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They are almost identical to the Mercedes E class pieces on the M/B website.
      I'd venture to say that they were Ford's (ahem) inspiration.
      Anyway ,very high brow.Fits the new image of the vastly improved Focus.
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