A challenge.

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Hi, my name is Alex Bogusky. I’m a guest columnist here with What’s the idea. My hard-edged insights are going to turn heads and make everyone smarter communicators. Responsible for the Burger King king, the Mini Cooper launch and Miller Lite’s misunderstood but effective Man Laws campaign, I’ve been advertising’s most visible spokesperson for the past 5 years.  
 
Surprise! It’s not Alex, it’s me, Steve. I had you going, didn’t I? 
 
This is the tactic Ford is taking with their new “Swap My Ride” campaign. The campaign positions Ford by allowing new owners of other car brands, e.g., Toyota, Nissan, to drive Fords with the Ford identity concealed – under the guise of market research. Low and behold, the tricked consumers like the Ford automobile and say so in TV commercials. 
 
OMG. This is challenger brand stuff. It says to consumers, “we’re just as good” as our competition. The problem with this approach is it puts competitors into the equation. It uses them as context.  Ford needs to tell its own story.  
 
If Ford continues to act like a challenger brand, it will remain a challenger brand. They are beginning to exhibit some vision and nice car designs. How about looking within? THAT would be a bold move.