Company: Ford Motor Co.
Ad Agency: Team Detroit/WPP Global
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.
Watch the commercials after the jump and take our poll below.