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07 June 2022
No room for advertising in Ford’s EV future
Eco, hybrid, electric cars
Ford CEO James Farley is “not convinced we need public advertising” as the automaker transitions from the internal combustion engine to a future based around electric vehicles.
Tesla spent almost nothing on traditional advertising last year but is the leading EV brand in the US. Ford, meanwhile, spent over $3 billion globally on advertising in 2021.
But, Farley told the recent Alliance Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, it hadn’t needed any advertising for its Lightning and E-Transit electric commercial vehicles, while it had stopped ads for its Mustang Mach-E electric car “because we've been sold out for two years”.
A new marketing approach
“Our model's messed up,” he said. “We spend $600 or $700 on a vehicle to promote it, and we spend nothing post-warranty on the customer experience.” He wants to invert that approach.
The traditional business model has included a profitable parts business, based on between 10% and 20% of customers coming back to the brand. “It'd be much better if we tried to develop an ecosystem where 100% came back, and we gave them experiences, and that's our marketing,” he explained. “You buy a Ford Model E and after a year we’re going to give you a complete detail of the vehicle, check all your software's up to date – you get a complete birthday for your vehicle.”
“If you ever see The Ford Motor Company doing a Super Bowl ad on our electric vehicle, sell the stock” – James Farley, CEO, The Ford Motor Company.