Ford is ad-ding it up, reinvents the test drive

The ad is clever. Very, very clever. It'll be tough for a lawyer to say that there is unfair comparison - because there is no comparison.

Anant Rangaswami September 07, 2011 10:58:40 IST
Ford is ad-ding it up, reinvents the test drive

The new advertisement from Ford is instantly eye-catching - because it's an ad which names its competitors.

Naming the competition is no longer taboo. Gone are the days when your brand was compared with 'Brand X' to demonstrate your superiority. Go ahead, name the brand, but be fair - and be within the law.

We switched their cars for a week and changed their minds forever

Ford is adding it up reinvents the test drive

The use of adjectives and adjective clauses - soft, easy-to-understand - makes up for the absence of hard facts. Reuters

That's the headline from the ad announcing the new campaign, "Swap your drive". The subhead says, "The performance, comfort and technology of Ford made them realise what they had been missing. Experience the Ford difference today!"

Here's the ad.Ford

The ad shows three consumers standing next to three (different models of) Ford cars, and a comment in a blurb alongside each. "Powerful AC, lots of space and awesome mileage. What else do you want?," asks Sanjeet Ahluwalia, Maruti Swift owner. "Once you go off-roading in it, you'll realise the mettle of this machine. Amazing handling and auto-transmission is a dream," says Bal Nanda,Toyota Fortuner owner.

"For the first two days, I thought the fuel indicator was not working because it just won't move. Then, I realised it was the mileage," says Sarabjot Singh, Tata Indigo owner.

The ad is clever. Very, very clever. It'll be tough for a lawyer to say that there is unfair comparison - because there is no comparison.

The use of adjectives and adjective clauses - soft, easy-to-understand - makes up for the absence of hard facts. "Powerful" AC, "lots of", "awesome" and the like are hardly 'facts'.

These are simple words and phrases used by common consumers - and Ford will probably get away with their use. If the same words had been superlative - 'more powerful', 'more space', and so on, Ford would have to get the tech specs benchmarked - and they would have to outdo the competition before these words were used.

Of equal interest is the fact that "Swap your drive" is only a rehashed concept of something as simple as a test drive - except it allows you a one week test as opposed to an hour or so, the conventional test drive.

You learn that when you visit the url that the ad directs you to - www.india.ford.com/syd. Try to find out what you can about Swap your drive and all you get is testimonials from those who have done so. The carefulness with the use of words that may seem unfair competition continues, though now, thanks to videos, you can see consumers enjoying their drives and mouthing the words for you to see and hear.

All you can do, sadly, is to treat yourself to a common-or-garden test - not a swap. That might leave the consumer, and not the competition, feeling cheated.

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