MySpace uncool: How to sell a very dull car with music…or not.

Music and marketing don’t always mix
I can’t help noticing the marketing efforts of car brands. I am a bit of a gearhead and things like the 2001esque BMW spot celebrating the joy of driving I saw in the cinema recently get me interested. Of course, most driving in the UK is far from a joy and most cars on the road today are less spirited than a slightly wonky shopping trolley. I can’t comment on the Ford Focus except to say is that by all accounts it is competent. Unfortunately, it also a firm favourite with fleets and rental car firms for this exact reason. Not very rock and roll.

So I have been thinking about Ford’s latest print efforts which are based around ‘singer songwriter Ben Griffiths’ who needs ‘a decent car as much as a good guitar’, apparently. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense unless he is going to alight a Hoxton stage and play the Focus itself in some kind of experimental industrial band. This helps him ‘own the road’ even though he is ‘unplugged.’ A Focus doesn’t own the road, it just indifferently occupies it on the way to an electrical supplies sales conference in Dunstable. The thing is typeset primarily with one of those handwriting fonts, is quite chatty and invites me to go to his MySpace page which wisely does not mention Ford, alongside this URL which doesn’t seem to work much.

I really have no idea why they are bothering. There are plenty of ways to sell a Focus as a sensible, reliable companion and transport medium to the younger listeners of Radio 2. A dubious MySpace based linkup with a no-name folk singer who is selling out before he’s got anything to sell is not a great one. This smacks of putting the medium before the message – MySpace is ‘cool’ and used by musicians and young people, so an ad campaign targeted at them must find a way use it somehow. Maybe the next step is a funky trade show for fleet buyers and lease brokers in Second Life. Lame.

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