Thursday, October 6, 2011

Obama Admin Pressures Ford to Pull TV Ad

Obama Admin Pressures Ford to Pull TV Ad

It was a great ad, part of a series that The Ford Motor Company is running featuring unscripted responses from real Ford owners. This one caught the attention of many due to it's raw honesty. In it, a journalist asks Chris, “Was buying American important to you?” Chris’ answer couldn’t have been better scripted by Ford.

“I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me."
The ad itself has been pulled (more on that below), but there is a response by "Chris", the star of the ad itself posted here.
News came out that the ad had been removed at the request of the Obama Administration, which didn't appear to be thrilled about the blatantly pro-capitalism message espoused in the spots:

That's what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early '09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can't have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn't worth the cost of waging it.

Strangely, the article quoted above quotes an anonymous source as saying, "...there was not any pressure to take down the ad." However, the article is clear that the ad was removed in response to "questions from the White House", as if such questions are to be interpreted in any other way.

Regardless, this is a stunning abuse of power by an administration which promised to change the way things are done in Washington D.C. On second thought: considering that there isn't any evidence to believe that any prior administrations had ever demanded that a private company pull it's advertising, perhaps this is the change that they've promised.

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