Fake Press Conference Puts Real Heat on Ford

Driver's anti-bailout comment draws fire

Headshot of David Griner

If the goal of "surprise reveals" in advertising is to get unscripted responses that leave viewers buzzing, then Ford has struck gold with one of its new "Drive one" ads from Team Detroit. The spots feature real Ford owners lured into a surprise press conference, at which they're asked some softball questions about their cars. It's a clever and seemingly innocuous concept, but one of the spots has raised a few eyebrows for its choice of soundbite. When asked about buying American in the spot below, "Chris" replies, "I wasn't going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government." While Ford deserves a nod for not joining competitors General Motors and Chrysler in taking federal money, critics note that Ford has generally supported the bailouts. On Tuesday, a Detroit News columnist alleged that the spot had been pulled under pressure from the White House. Ford denied that report and posted this response on Facebook: "For those asking, the ad ran as part of a planned rotation and continues to run online. It contains the unscripted comments of a Ford owner. We supported emergency government support for our competitors and continue to support the decisions we made." Check out some less controversial executions after the jump.

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."