Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mercury Descending

Last week it was reported that Ford will shut down the Mercury brand to concentrate more on Lincoln. Frankly I never understood that whole Lincoln Mercury relationship in the first place. I suspect consumers didn't either.

Can't say I'm particularly surprised by the move.

Years ago, I did some work for the previous marketing regime. By and large a smart group of people who appreciated good advertising. I even had the good fortune to work on the launch of the Lincoln Aviator, a vehicle inspired by the highly successful Lincoln Navigator.

I had the even greater fortune of watching one of my ideas sail through the corporate bureaucracy and tally up some outrageously high scores in focus groups. This, for those of you not in advertising, is a monumental task.

We got the green light. Hired an A-list director. And produced what I consider to be a first rate spot. When it was said and done the entire production went north of a million dollars. Everybody was thrilled with the final product. It leveraged the equity of the Lincoln Navigator. It conveyed the size relationships of the vehicles. And it was funny.

But the commercial never saw the light of day.

I'll tell you why after you view the spot...

When the finished commercial was brought before the big cheeses in Detroit, one witless Mucketty Muck said spot could not be run. "Why?", asked the demoralized marketing Director, "it meets all our objectives and and has tested extremely well."

"It's not our target audience, " he replied, "we don't sell cars to janitors." (It would've been as if Steve Jobs had looked at '1984' and declared we don't sell computers to women in running shorts who throw sledgehammers.)

This defines in a nutshell, why brands in Detroit are dropping like flies.
And redefines the phrase 'Mercury poisoning.'


Mark said...

I was thinking about another great near miss of yours when, in the same day, I read that Aerosmith was going on tour and Al and Tipper Gore were separating.
What a great Guitar Hero spot it would have been.

Rich Siegel said...

If only they could all be as easy as Castlemaine XXXX.

Write it on Monday. Present it on Friday. Have the CEO approve it the following Monday. Pick up One Show pencil 8 months later.