Looking for a blue

Ford is con­sid­er­ing a novel way to re-en­gage its cus­tomers, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

SINGER John Wil­liamson turned a trade­mark Aussie phrase into a smash hit in 1981. Now Ford thinks true blue could be just the phrase to help win over cus­tomers.

Ford pres­i­dent and CEO Marin Burela be­lieves the tag could have a fu­ture as the com­pany seeks to re-en­gage cus­tomers.

‘‘The Aussie cus­tomer is start­ing to look at Ford in a dif­fer­ent light,’’ he says.

Burela ac­knowl­edges many con­sumers ‘‘had fallen out of love with Ford and we weren’t re­spon­sive enough’’.

True blue is one of sev­eral ideas Ford is con­sid­er­ing, among them third-party brand en­dorse­ments, to re­con­nect with ex­ist­ing cus­tomers, lure new buy­ers and sell cars.

‘‘ Third-party en­dorse­ment, whether it be a per­son­al­ity or just the true blue mums and dads and young peo­ple of Aus­tralia . . . I think is a re­ally in­ter­est­ing way to go out and com­mu­ni­cate our mes­sage,’’ he says. ‘‘We should go and pick up on that.’’

But he is wary about such an en­dorse­ment be­ing seen by to­day’s tech­nol­ogy-savvy con­sumers as too corny.

‘‘I don’t know whether true blue is the right tag line, but I love it per­son­ally,’’ he says.

‘‘In fact, I’ve asked the Ford team to go out and see if there is mileage with it. ‘‘I think it’s got a nice feel to it. ‘‘It’s a real Aus­tralian say­ing. ‘‘The term true blue is an in­ter­est­ing thing.’’

Burela says true blue is a per­fect fit with Ford, which is com­monly re­ferred to as the Blue Oval be­cause of its logo.

True blue also some­times refers to a diehard Ford fan both on and off the race­track.

‘‘We are true blue and when I see other brands talk about be­ing Aus­tralian and be­ing here for 50 years or 60 years I have to re­mind every­one we’ve been here for 85 years,’’ he says.

Ford can draw on the suc­cess of a se­ries of suc­cess­ful tele­vi­sion ads in the 1970s when it used a farmer in the South Aus­tralian Flin­ders Ranges to en­dorse its lux­ury Fair­lane sedan as ‘‘a big car for a big coun­try’’.

Burela be­lieves a 21st cen­tury take on this style of think­ing could be good for the Broad­mead­ows­based car maker.

Strik­ing the right chord: Ford reck­ons Aussie singer John Wil­liamson was on the right track.

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