I don’t own a TV (streaming all the way), but I’m always interested car ads to see what tricks advertisers use in their efforts to make us want to spend a lot of revenue on a new car.
So when I saw Ford launch a new ad yesterday – with a decent amount of shadow cast on a competitor whose name starts with T and ends with a, I was all-in. Let me take you through it and share some thoughts.
You can see the ad in all its glory:
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But let’s take a closer look:
It starts with a pleasant touch of a snark. It shows footage of a hand scrolling on a smartphone with the comment: “At the moment, it may seem that the only people who matter are the noisiest…” Who could you think?
Then he continues, “Those who want to tear things down and then fly off their personal spaceships when things get tough,” A video of a rocket taking off fills the screen.
God, if you can’t tell from the shadows, I’m not sure we can be friends.
The ad uses a hashtag # FORD for Builders. The rest of the ad is dedicated to profiling Ford workers, profiling a culturally and gender-diverse cohort of people working in their own name. The narrator says that Ford assembles more vehicles in the United States than other car manufacturers, which means local jobs.
The narrator continues: “… we have 182,000 people and they are building.” And goes on to conclude: “You may not know their names, but these people get up every day to move us all forward.”
So what impact will advertising actually have? Honestly, I am not fully aware of its goals. But I have some thoughts on how companies are compared:
Difference in leadership
Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford, is for Ford to succeed. He has no side effects – unlike Elon Musk, Musk not only signed up to buy Twitter this month, but also split his focus between Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink.
But which is better: single focus or diversification? Leadership legacy comes with its own weight, but cross-vertical gains, such as research and development, from investing heavily in multiple industries are also nothing to smell about.
sentence: I suspect that the only focus prevails over the distraction approach (but one can be convinced otherwise):
Listen, I can’t do miracles, okay pic.twitter.com/z7dvLMUXy8
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 28, 2022
Okay, so Tesla’s marketing is basically that Elon posts nonsense on Twitter, and journalists and analysts write articles about it every time he does. Free advertising anyone?
And that’s even before he pledged to invest $ 44 million in investor money to buy Twitter.
By comparison, Ford runs ads like this.
sentence: Lord, this is nonsense; who needs a marketing department when you have Twitter?
Working conditions in Ford
We can assume that the advertising promotion for workers in the US casts a shadow over Tesla, which opened its Gigafactory in Germany earlier this year, and this week the company announced plans for second factory in China.
But so is Ford factories outside the United States in countries like Germany, Thailand and China, so pointing your finger is a bit unnecessary.
But I think the bigger problem is attracting workers. We saw this with Tesla’s AI Day last year.
Universum Employer Branding Specialist has published its list for 2020 of the most attractive employers for American students. In a list of 100 computer science companies, here’s how car companies do it:
- Tesla – 5
- BMW – 51
- Toyota – 60
- Rolls Royce – 62
- Daimler / Mercedes Benz – 86
- VW – 93
Ford and GM are noticeably absent. What’s worse is that graduates prefer to work for Uber (ranked 35) and Lyft (ranked 39).
sentence: The automotive industry is known for its complaints about working conditions. Most of the members of the Automobile Workers’ Union work for Ford. But unions are a pretty old school and all companies are struggling to attract high-tech talent. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford has to do a big old recruitment campaign.
Okay, what is math?
In terms of sales, Tesla is still the dominant player in the EV market. Let’s look at a few amounts – I hope I did it relatively simply.
in 2021 Tesla produced 930,422 electric vehicles and delivered 936,176. (Their deliveries are the closest approximation to Tesla’s sales figures.)
For comparison, Ford sold 12,284 EVs last year. No, this is not a typo.
It is a little more difficult to quantify for Q1 2022.
What we do know is that according to industry analysts, Cox AutomotiveTesla’s share of the global electric car segment rose to 75% in the first quarter, from 70% in the first quarter of 2021.
Tesla delivered 310,048 electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2022.
Only a small fraction of the 966,000 cars Ford sold in its global operations were electric cars. In February, Ford Jim Farley said in a statement EV sales in January totaled 13,169 units.
So, even if we were generous with 50,000 sales in Q1, that’s well below Tesla’s 300,000+. Ugh
sentence: Not surprisingly, Tesla wins for Q1.
However, it is unclear how big sales the F150 Lightning will be for Q2. I am not convinced that the company has the capacity for this type of implementation. They stopped taking orders for F150 orders of 200,000 at the end of last year.
But this week there is also talk of Ford’s plan build a new EV pickup. I’m just not convinced that this market segment is really suitable for Tesla.
So here it is. Different brands with different approaches and market segments.
One is extremely successful when it comes to EV’s world domination. To be clear, I think the competition is good.
Most OEMs would not have escaped until it became legally impossible if Tesla had not been there to completely disrupt the market.
I am quite an agnostic of the brand, unlike some other journalists. I want everything green cars for success – electric, solar and yes, even (green) hydrogen. So competition can only be a good thing. Turn it on.