More Response from Ford to AFA’s “Boycott Victory”

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2008

fordlogo.jpgEarlier this week, the American Family Association, declared victory in changing the advertising policy at Ford Motor Company and it’s various brands.

At that time the response from Ford, while encouraging, was not adequately specific to assure me that no agreement had been made or that Ford would continue its relationship with it gay market. But Jeff Bercovici at Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com has contacted Ford and reports the following comments:

But Ford spokesman Jim Cain insists the automaker had made no such promises. “I can tell you there was not a negotiated settlement to this boycott,” he says, sounding somewhat mystified by AFA’s triumphalism.

While Ford has scaled back some of the marketing and philanthropy AFA objects to, any such decreases were merely part of a broader retrenchment in response to dismal market conditions, says Cain. “We’ve been in real financial difficulties. There’s been reduced spending in lots of areas.”

But, he adds, Ford continues to be involved with groups such as PFLAG and Human Rights Campaign, both of which agitate for gay marriage.

I will take the Ford spokesman at his word. And I will watch to see whether any increase in performance at Ford Motor Company will result in the resumption of marketing and philanthropy towards the gay community.

Emily K

March 13th, 2008

This is like the AFA doing a raindance when they see a thundercloud coming, and then saying they made it storm. Ford is in a lot bigger trouble than anything the AFA could dream up. they have severe market, consumer and economic issues to deal with. I think it’s commendable they keep up the ties they do with the charities they contribute to. Any cutbacks that happen occur because of those issues, not the AFA.

Zeke

March 13th, 2008

I’m not a marketing specialist or anything so maybe I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head about these things but doesn’t it seem reasonable that it’s precisely when a company is doing poorly in sales that it would want to INCREASE rather than decrease ad buys and promotions?

Maybe someone with an MBA could explain to me why Ford thinks that now is the time to decrease advertising and promotions.

Zeke

March 13th, 2008

I’m with Timothy. Something still smells fishy here.

grantdale

March 13th, 2008

Ford are still showing a gay couple in their adverts in Australia. Oh, yawn.

Zeke: it’ll depend on how they are predicting who will buy in the next year or so.

When times are good — or people at least think they are — a great deal of extra advertising occurs to try and get those “maybe I need a new car, or maybe not just yet” people into the showrooms. Discretionary advertising for discretionary purchases.

When a downturn occurs, those sort of purchases are the first to be dropped. People who really do need a new car will still turn up and buy one, but those on the margin will probably delay any purchase until things improve.

If people aren’t in the mood to buy, no amount of advertising will help them decide otherwise. All you can do is maintain your brand image in preparation for a better mood sometime in the future, and to make sure you maintain your profile vs the competition.

The statement by Ford seems reasonable and believable, given all that’s going on at the moment.

cheers!

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