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: Detroit News: Mulally challenges Ford marketing, vehicle branding

08-27-2007, 11:03 AM
Mulally challenges Ford marketing, vehicle branding
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. needs to do a better job with vehicle branding and marketing, according to CEO Alan Mulally, and he would like to resurrect the old marketing slogan, "Have you driven a Ford lately?"
Ford has changed model names too frequently for no good reason, Mulally said during a dinner with reporters Wednesday.
"I can remember saying to my team, 'How do you pick these names? It seems to me you just put out another product every year, you kill the last year's one, you look in the dictionary and find another word that starts with E or F and you slap it on it,' " he said.
He wants to stick with vehicle names for the long term and continue to improve the underlying product. That approach has worked well for other automakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which rarely change model names.
"We're going to improve it year after year forever," Mulally said. "There's not enough money in the world to let any of that brand equity get diminished."
Ford has the best vehicle lineup ever, Mulally said, pointing to recent laurels earned from Consumer Reports magazine and J.D. Power and Associates as proof its products have turned the corner. Still, the percentage of consumers who say they would consider a Ford still lags well behind Japanese rivals, he said.
Once prospective customers get behind the wheel of a new Ford, he said, more than half say they would like to buy it. So, the automaker needs to convince consumers to give its cars and trucks a second chance, Mulally said.
" 'Have you driven a Ford lately?' really does capture that," Mulally said. "I certainly am bringing it back -- I don't know if I can convince my colleagues that that will be our main marketing campaign."
But even people outside Ford question a return to that tagline.
"It does capture a lot of what they need to get, but I wouldn't recycle that ad campaign. There may be a better way to do it for the 21st century," analyst Jim Hall of AutoPacific said. "He's being paid too much to be working on an advertising campaign."

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08-27-2007, 01:27 PM
He's being paid too much to be working on an advertising campaign."
He is paid too much to be looking at all aspects of the company, including marketing campaigns. He has the right approach, he has to look at freaking every single aspect of his business that he can.. He is the CEO, if he ignores something, that could be what takes him down!!!:confused: