Don’t Buy That, Bye This!

Bye ByeI saw an interesting Ford commercial this weekend with an ending that absolutely blew my mind. And definitely not in a good way. Here’s why I think Ford made a major mistake with their latest Ford Fusion commercial.

The spot (which I’m struggling to find video of at this exact moment) features Mike Rowe—an excellent choice for a spokesperson as far as I’m concerned—convincing a young shopper to ditch her Toyota Camry in favor of the new Ford Fusion. Focusing on the Fusion’s numerous features and benefits, Rowe is very persuasive and the commercial presents a valid case for choosing the Fusion.

Then, as the commercial went into its close-out finale, my mind nearly exploded. If I’d had a drink in my mouth, I’d have done a sitcom-esque spit-take for sure.

The spot closes out with Rowe telling the female shopper something along the lines of, “There’s just one thing left to say…” and she responds by saying, “Bye Camry.”

I just stared at the TV. Do mine ears deceive me? Did that really just happen? Now if you haven’t yet seen the spot, reading the “Bye Camry” might not seem like such a terrible offense. She’s merely saying goodbye to her old car and welcoming her new Ford Fusion, right?

But if you only heard the commercial (or simply caught the last 3-5 seconds and missed the point of the entire spot), all you would hear is:

“Bye Camry”

Say that out loud. Does it sound a little like “Buy Camry” to you? Because that’s the first thing my mind went to. Honestly, I’m not sure how this managed to slip through the cracks. Assuming it cost a few hundred thousand dollars to produce the spot and several million to run it nationwide, you would thinksomebody would’ve picked up on the “Buy Camry” slip before it began airing across the country.

The bottom line? As marketers, it’s important we try to view EVERY aspect of our work with a focused eye (AND ear). Within its context, “Bye Camry” seems innocent enough. But in an era of short attention spans and advertising overload, the final message your customers hear from one of your commercials should NOT be “Buy _____ [insert your competitor here],” no matter what your intent was.

Do you agree? Or is it possible I’m just making too big a deal about this? I know it’s hard to share your opinion without seeing the actual spot, so I’ll try to embed it as soon as I find it online. For now, what do you think? Did Ford make a huge mistake or is this a simple oversight that most people won’t even pick up on? Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below. We’d love to hear your opinion.

-Mike B.

P.S. – If the folks at Toyota are smart, they’ll figure out a creative way to jump on this. The simplest way would be to say something along the lines of “even our competitors are telling you to ‘buy Camry,’” but I’m sure the right creative team could come up with something fantastic.

Photo by Latente! Thanks!

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