Ford (NYSE:F) is launching a mad new ad campaign with the tag-line "Ford. Drive One". The company is working with it local dealers to get them to push the same message. According to The Wall Street Journal, the car company’s management hopes to turn dealers into an "army of Ford brand advocates."
Why does Ford need to get its own dealers excited about selling its own cars? And, if they are not excited now, why would a new marketing campaign change that?
Ford’s own research shows that many buyers will not even consider looking at one of the company’s cars. A new slogan which tries to rally the troops is not going to solve that problem.
At the heart of the loss of Ford’s market share is that it no longer builds compelling products like the original Mustang or the Taurus. Those products come from Toyota (TM) in the Prius and Honda (HMC) in the Accord.
Ford only has two options to get customers back. One is to drop prices dramatically and try to bring in buyers on economics. That would lose a lot of money but it might bring in new owners who would stick with the company when they buy cars in the future.
Ford’s other options is simply to say take one of our cars for a month, free of charge. If you don’t like it, just bring it back. No questions asked.
Douglas A. McIntyre