Ford's New Spokesman is An Orange Puppet

When we think of car commercials, we think of sweeping pan shots of a country hillside with winding roads that are always wet, yet the sun is shining brightly without a cloud in the sky. A brand new car then makes its way down the road usually swerving out of the way of random objects to show its excellent handling. I could go on all day with the amount of clichés you find in just about every car commercial, but let’s not. Instead, I want to explore some newer ways of car advertising.

I think one of the funniest car commercials I’d seen in a long time was the Kia Soul commercial where there are all these hamsters are stuck on the road in their running wheels not going anywhere and then out of the blue, a Kia Soul rolls up blasting some music with two hamsters inside dressed down and rockin’ out with sunglasses while tapping their paws on the door frame. Now, although the ad didn’t make me want to go buy a Soul (mainly because I had just bought a new car), it did accomplish something that’s probably more valuable: it made me remember what the product was.

Doug

Now, on to the orange puppet! His name is Doug and the current ad campaign has him hanging out with John, a Ford employee set out in the Los Angeles area to promote the new 2012 Ford Focus. There are two sides to this campaign—the first being the promotional side where they discuss and showcase the car’s features and the second being the comedic banter between the two.

Doug is somewhat obnoxious, egotistical, maniacal and even a bit sexist from time to time, but he’s FREAKIN’ hilarious!! I happened to catch the video on YouTube just off the whim and I immediately subscribed to his channel, focusdoug and proceeded to watch every single video that he has uploaded. Now, I really want more. If you like the sort of dry, dumb humor that you can find on a show like The Office, you’re going to love this! Here is one of my favorites to give you an idea:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8_2fMw6m4E&hd=1

In today’s world, the younger generation is continuing to drive market places and essentially change the face of advertising. While I grew up watching McDonald’s commercials with perfectly designed food products, today’s kids are growing up with Dominos showing home-grown photos of actual pizzas delivered to their customers—the not-so-great looking ones included. It’s the generation that is Internet-based and socially driven. They practically do everything online from sharing videos, discussing trending topics and communicating in almost every way. It’s no wonder why Ford has chosen this forum to broadcast Doug to the masses.

Social Media Advertising

Just a few years ago, every major company was flashing their “dotCOM” all over the place in hopes that you’d come to their website. Now, everywhere you look is a Facebook or Twitter link with phrases like “Like us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter”. The idea is simple. Rather than try and get people to remember your website, all you need to do is send them to a site they are already on and interact with you there. At this point, you can create fun little games, phone applications, interactive surveys and more.

Users like this because they’re already on Facebook and more importantly, they know how it works.

With new ad campaigns coming out featuring a more toned-down appearance and showing that large companies have a sense of humor about their own products, it’s easy to see who they’re marketing to. Whether you like or not, websites and services like Facebook and Twitter are here to stay and social media will slowly become the new form of advertising and promotions.

My two cents

While some people call these ads gimmicks, I actually find them to be smart. If we look back into history, there have been a lot of “gimmicky” characters out there: Disney has Mickey, Dominos had the Noid, Geico has the Gecko and the Cavemen, McDonald’s has Ronald. No matter what your feelings are on these mascots, the point is that they make you remember the products they’re pushing.

In my opinion, I hope Doug sticks around. Heck, make a TV show with him, sell him to consumers, make t-shirts or as one YouTuber said, “Ford should give away a free Doug with every Focus purchase.” The response to that last one from focusdoug: “We’re working on that.”

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