Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I AM LEGEND; FORD IS LEGEND

I managed to actually get out and see a movie over the holidays when I visited a local theater to see "I AM LEGEND," Will Smith's new version of the classic ''last man on Earth'' tale once filmed as ''The Omega Man.''

Now I'm not going to discuss movie details or my thoughts about the movie itself. You can visit The Morning Call if you want details about the movie. However, I do want to talk about Ford's product placement strategy within the movie.

The opening scene shows Will Smith (aka Lt. Col. Robert Neville) driving in a Shelby Mustang Cobra while hunting for food. Later, he is seen driving around in a Ford Explorer while another character is driving a Ford Escape.

I understand that Lt. Col. Robert Neville is driving in a Shelby Mustang Cobra to hunt because it is a fast vehicle. Also, the Ford Explorer is portrayed wonderfully as a rough and rugged vehicle that can be driven in different types of terrains. However, I'm not sure why Ford didn't use the movie to highlight some of its "Green" efforts in terms of showcasing better fuel economy.

Lt. Col. Robert Neville plays the role of the "last man on earth." Neville lives in a fortified townhouse, locked in against the terrors of the night. By day, he scavenges for food that hasn't passed its expiration date. Given the scarcity of resources (i.e. fuel and food), I think Ford could have used the product placement opportunity to highlight some of its more environmentally friendly efforts or showcase fuel economy in some of its vehicles (i.e. Ford Focus or Ford Escape Hybrid). For instance, Lt. Col. Robert Neville could been in a scene were he was filling-up the tank of a Ford Escape Hybrid with the camera focusing on its hybrid badge. Additionally, Neville could have made subtle mention about thankfully having enough fuel left during crucial situation (i.e. being chased by "the Dark Seekers").

Overall, I like Ford's decision to place some of its vehicles in the movie. I think it is an excellent follow-up to GM's decision to feature its vehicles in Transformers: The Movie during summer 2007. Also, I'm looking forward to seeing the new Bullit movie featuring the Ford Mustang in 2008. However, I do feel that car manufacturers, including Ford, need to stress the importance of fuel economy and highlight their environmental friendly efforts via product placement, especially with consumers' concerns over rising fuel costs.

Product placement should go beyond simply getting a product or brand name in front of the camera. Companies such as Ford that wish to engage in product placement need to take the opportunity to send a message to consumers telling them what their company and products are about.

I do not want people reading this post to think that I am againt Ford since that would be an incorrect assumption. In fact, I am the proud owner of a 2007 Ford Focus and a 2006 Ford Explorer. However, I do want to give my opinion about Ford's marketing strategies. I'm not sure whether my opinion may be of value to anyone but it is my opinion. Also, Ford is spending a lot of money on innovation and improving fuel efficiency. You can find out more about Ford's green efforts at Ford Greener Miles Environmentally Friendly Vehicle Innovate site.

2 comments:

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