Ford Pulls Commercial The White House Hates

The automaker pulls an ad criticizing the auto bailouts

Ford Motor is bowing to political pressures and pull an ad it began running earlier this month featuring a real customer complimenting the automaker for not taking government bailout money.

Chris, the man in the commercial, said he bought a Ford F150 pickup truck because he liked the fact that Ford didn't take a government bailout, indirectly bashing GM and Chrysler for doing so.

Not surprisingly, the White House let Ford know it was not amused. The Detroit News first reported that Ford pulled the ad after phone calls were made. An executive familiar with the exchange confirmed the report.

The ad features a real Ford buyer, named Chris, being questioned by a gaggle of fake reporters about why he bought a Ford. It is part of a series of ads featuring real customers and fake media.

Says Chris in the ad: "I was going to buy from a manufacturer that's standing on their own; win, lose, or draw. That's what America is about; is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me."

The ad got more attention after Chris posted a YouTube video explaining his position.

One of the problems with the ad, pointed out by AOL Autos in a previous story, is that Ford CEO Alan Mulally gave his full support for the government intervention to GM, Chrysler and auto parts companies in 2008 and 2009. In fact, Ford would have taken government aid as well had the company not done a massive recapitalization in 2006. And if GM and Chrysler were allowed to fail, Mulally argued that the disruption would have taken Ford down as well.

The auto industry bailout is widely denounced by Republicans and Tea Party members despite the recovery of both companies and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs since. Still, the role of government intervention in private industry is being hotly debated by Republican candidates for the White House next year.

Ford and its ad agency, Team Detroit, specifically chose the customer's opposition to the bailouts as his reason for choosing a Ford though he gave other reasons as well in a two-and-a-half hour shoot.

The ad was by far the most debated and discussed on the Internet out of dozens Ford has created as part of the same campaign.

This is not the first time Ford has changed its advertising because of political pressure. Last year, Ford pulled a commercial advertising its SYNC telematics system after the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called to complain that the driver in the ad was looking everywhere but the road.

Share This Photo X