A colleague and reader points to the latest salvo of “branded content” from Ford’s Mercury and Lincoln divisions:
If you want to know why the car companies are having financial troubles, take a look at this marketing laboratory experiment. Ford apparently believes that creating a webisode of an indie film somehow makes a relevant and compelling connection to selling cars. Check out the two links supplied lovelybysurprise.com and theneverything.com.
According to a Detroit daily, Ford will run the “webisodes” as a serial, about two to five minutes each for five weeks. The Lincoln and Mercury vehicles are subtly built into the movies, with unobtrusive product placement.
But here’s the rub: after BMW (the progenitor of the online film as marketing tactic) announced that it is quitting this scene, is Ford just spinning its wheels? Isn’t a kick-ass dealership experience more effective than an online movie? Wouldn’t a new version of Camp Jeep be money better-spent…maybe something called Ford City? How about a taste-maker and hand-raiser event exclusive to Ford owners to promote brand evangelism? Don’t get me wrong; any new form of marketing that further disproves the dominance of the 30-second spot is good in my book — especially a form of branded entertainment that makes it a point to include “unobstrusive product placement.”
But I’m just wondering if these forays into alternative branding is going to deliver. And if they don’t, I’m worried that their less-than-stellar performance at traditional ROI would sour marketing execs to the notion of experience-based marketing.
Well, who cares what I think? What do you think?