Is the Ford brand really that bad?

The automaker decides to drop its name and logo from its newest sales pitch.

By Kim Peterson May 15, 2012 1:40PM
Image: Ford logo © JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty ImagesSome drivers hate Ford (F) vehicles. They have all kinds of reasons to cringe whenever they see the Ford name and the blue oval.

Ford knows it. But Ford has been overhauling its lineup, adding new technologies and new designs. The quality is improved and the new models look good. If only people could get past that blue oval.

So Ford is experimenting with a new strategy. Why not take the name and logo out altogether? That's the basis for a new TV ad campaign that doesn't mention the company at all.

Check out this commercial. It almost seems to introduce a new car company, showing cars with some slick features, such as voice-activated technology and a spiffy car-parking system. The ad sends viewers to the website, and it's only when you get to the site that you see the Ford logo.

The idea is to make people rethink their perceptions of Ford. You might have hated the brand in the past, but it's different now. It's almost a return to the company's "Have you driven a Ford lately?" slogan. (Check out this amusing commercial for a reminder.)

Ford has been doing very well financially. It earned $29.5 billion in the last three years after losing about the same amount from 2006 through 2008, Bloomberg reports.

The new ads came out of Ford's own test clinics, Bloomberg reports. People were more enthusiastic about new models until they found out Ford made them.

"As soon as people see a blue oval they jump to immediate conclusions as to preconceived ideas about what the company does, what it stands for," a Ford marketing executive told Bloomberg. "We still have a gap and an opportunity to change that perception on the coasts."

Ford doesn't sell well on the West and East Coasts. Drivers in those markets prefer a Toyota (TM) or Honda (HMC), Bloomberg reports.

Ford is still keeping the logo on its vehicles. But it's trying to overcome a hard industry reality. Once people have a bad experience with one brand, they sign off altogether. They aren't about to put tens of thousands of dollars into another car from that company. Ford suffered from negative quality perceptions for quite a while, and even though the quality has improved, it's going to take a lot of work to reverse that damage.

May 15, 2012 2:37PM
It took a long time for Japan to outlive the made in Japan label, which signified junk for decades, but they did it by learning about quality control (from an American) and practicing it. If Ford continues to make the superior vehicles they're making now, they will outlive the mistakes of the past. By the way who is it that hates Ford, that's a new one to me. Haven't they had the largest selling truck for the last many years.  I have a Ford Focus myself, have had it now for 3 years, haven't spent a dime on it yet. It gets 27- 28 MPH around the city. Took it on a long trip last summer it got 36 MPH. I love it.
May 15, 2012 3:52PM
Ford should, not only KEEP the logo, but advertise it as American built without government bailout help and have improved the quality and made a profit doing so.  I don't care how much torque you have Dodge or GM, you needed our money to stay in business and not once has there been a "Thank You American Tax Payer".   Ford should be selling that idea and not worrying about its Madison Avenue perception of its logo.
May 15, 2012 5:16PM
I dont get it FORD was the only company not to get gov bail out money,and its getting bashed.
May 15, 2012 3:52PM
I have always had Fords and will only buy Fords. Everyone of them has surpassed my expectations.
May 15, 2012 3:58PM
May 15, 2012 3:58PM
Personally I like the blue oval,its a link to our past.Ford cars put this nation on wheels buy making auto's affordable to the working class.
May 15, 2012 3:34PM
Ford is one of the companies that America was built on, unfortunately, it was the American car companies that taught the Asians to build cars and they took the ball and ran with it, right up the American car companies you know what.   However, times are changing, we are finding that the Asians are not perfect (Toyota recalls etc) and we find that the American car companies have and are capitalizing on that by building more technologically advanced cars and keeping up with the Asians.  I am a Ford fan, best trucks on the road today.  I also own a 12 year old Asian built car that runs like a top, would I buy another maybe, but I am looking at American cars that are getting just as nice, while sipping fuel and the American cars are more affordable in my opinion.  I say lets buy American and lets make all about keeping our money here not in the pockets of foreign car companies.  
May 15, 2012 3:48PM
Ford!  walk tall and show that badge
Ford is the only manufacture company that did not ask for a bail out ! Think about that .
May 15, 2012 3:59PM
Ford GT40 winner of Le Manns 3 years in row beating Ferrari.
May 15, 2012 3:43PM

I have owned at least 25 vehicles of those (all Fords) 11 have bin pickups, the last three were super dutys . My father drivers fords as does my brother. I have the ford blue oval tatooed on my arm. I have never driven a better truck. My first was a 1972 F-100 to my current F-250 super duty. The emblem is the most recognized auto symbol ever. You can't get rid of it.

May 15, 2012 3:39PM
I think Ford is wrong.  They are turning the brand around.  I only buy American.  I have had about 10 GM vehicles and 10 Chrysler over the years.  I just replaced my 2000 GMC Yukon that had 373,000 miles with a new 2012 Ford Explorer.  I am really happy with my purchase.  Love the vehicle, the gas mileage and the technology.  Couldn't buy from a bailout company.  Just couldn't do it.
May 15, 2012 3:51PM

lots of liberal schmucks on those coasts


Ford's ad men should stop second guessing themselves and charge ahead


seems like good advice for America too

May 15, 2012 3:43PM
My father was a Ford executive ( International( for 30 years. That logo helped build countries with trucks, tractors, pick ups and cars. Foerd was known for sturdy reliability and fair prices. Then all American cars went into a tailspin in the 70's, 80's and 90's. They were poorly made, terrible service and all around pretty ugly. Once Ford decided to revamp and compete with the japanese, Germans and GM for quality, style, performance, service and customer sat, we now have rebounded in sales and market share. Also, remember..Ford did NOT take a bail out. If my Dad were still alive he would be very proud.
May 15, 2012 3:00PM

Wow, news to me. Ford means to me at present time is they are the only made in America car that you so called Americans didnt give a bailout to. So if you Troll's dont like Ford then get behind the Chevy and Dodge brands that we all should own stock in as we paid them to keep them in bussiness.

So dont stand behind a company that has mad it on thier own, stand behind more Obummer bailouts


May 15, 2012 4:35PM

Bought a Ford F-150 in 1994. Drove it off the lot. Eighteen years and 200,000+ miles later, that pickup still hauls my stuff and gets me where I want to go. It got a new transmission at 140,000 miles and has had engine seals replaced recently, but other than that, no problems at all.


I also have a 1994 Ford Ranger. Bought that one new for my son. He drove it, passed it on to his grandfather, then it came back to me.  It runs extremely well and has held up better than any Chevy pickup I previously owned.


Say what you will about Ford, but their pickups are the best on the road!

May 15, 2012 3:06PM
I'd buy a Ford again before I'd buy a GM car or Chrysler. At least Ford didn't drop to their knee's and suck obama"s d**k for some taxpayer's money..
May 15, 2012 4:13PM

I was always a Chevy man but when Ford made the decision to pass on the bail out money a few years back they became my brand.

Chevy and Chrysler jumped on tax payer funds while Ford passed, good for a company with character, they will have my support over the others.

The last two Fords owned by me were nothing short of perfect, periodic maintence and nothing else for over 200,000 miles each.

May 15, 2012 5:04PM
Buy American. And Buy from a company that does not take Bail Outs. 
May 16, 2012 11:51AM
Ford took no bailout money.  Good enough for me.
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