Advertising in the 21st century has become something of a crapshoot. Whether it’s because smartphones have made us more distracted and aloof, or GMOs in our food and drink, or some other unknown cause, it’s harder to get people to pay attention while an ad is in front of them.
One popular tactic as of late has been to make viral videos. Old Spice made it happen back in the 2010 Super Bowl, after it aired its first commercial “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” Several companies tried to capitalize on its model, making weird or oddball commercials: Skittles made its “X The Rainbow, Taste The Rainbow” commercials, and Fiat made its cringe-inducing “meme” commercials, just to name two examples.
To promote its new 2017 Super Duty, Ford tried to be a little “extreme” too. Back in October, they posted the above video to YouTube, wherein a 2017 Super Duty went up against an earthmover. The reason for this? The notion that with its 440 horsepower, 925 lb-ft of torque, and 32,500 pounds of towing capacity, “nothing else came close” in terms of direct competition. Thus, Ford had to “go to the next level,” and that’s why the truck is pitted against an earthmover.
A pre-planned obstacle course shows the Super Duty, its bed filled to the brim with dirt and rocks, make it through tight turns and reach the end in perfect form. The earthmover, by contrast, merely rampages through the entire course, knocking over water barrels, guard rails, and cinder blocks.
If you only like commercials for the “Wow” factor, then I suppose this commercial does the job. But for any kind of critical thinking, this ad really leaves me scratching my head. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one.
If you look again at the video, you’ll notice that it’s Like-to-Dislike ratio is roughly about even. Many of the comments reflect the negative feelings, with some pointing out how apples-to-oranges the whole thing is, or expressing sarcastic thanks to Ford for making viewers want to go out and buy a haul truck that could blast through obstacles.
For all of that negativity, Ford, to their credit, kept the video up and didn’t do anything to hide negative comments or the 50-50 likes versus dislikes ratio. They went on to make the same mistake twice, however, when they reposted the video to Facebook last month.
Once again, the commenters just couldn’t make heads or tails of the video. “I’m a die hard Ford guy, but this commercial is stupid. Funny but stupid. Might as well compare the tow capacity of an RC truck also,” said one person.
It’s a fine line between a good commercial and a bad one. Adding to that is the fact that a company must advertise its latest and greatest, or else it will likely fail. I don’t profess to know what it takes to make a good commercial, but this wasn’t it.