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