Super Bowl

Ford Vs. Chevy's Super Bowl Spot: Is Any Publicity Still Good Publicity?

Any Further Action Will Be Handled by Legal, Ford Says

By Published on .

'Dave didn't drive the longest lasting, most dependable truck on the road. Dave drove a Ford.'
'Dave didn't drive the longest lasting, most dependable truck on the road. Dave drove a Ford.'

In the virtual realm of Super Bowl ads for trucks, the world nearly ended Sunday night. But the games between General Motors and Ford go on and on.

Despite Ford Motor's demand to the contrary, GM ran its snarky "2012" ad during the Super Bowl as planned. In the ad, Silverado trucks are shown as being able to survive an apocalypse, while Ford trucks can't.

Ford spoke with NBC Sports over the weekend about not running the ad, which appeared in the game's first half. NBC declined that request. "The advertisement met all of our criteria for standards and practices," an NBC Sports spokesman said on Monday.

While one source involved in the snit called the whole matter "silly," GM CMO Joel Ewanick was positively delighted by the results. Answering some questions Sunday night on a forum sponsored by the automotive enthusiast website Jalopnik, Mr. Ewanick said, "The rivalry is there -- and has been here for longer than I've been here. Are we trying to stoke it? Yeah. Are we trying to make it more prominent? Yeah!" He said he was "surprised" by Ford's reaction. "It's the same claim we've been making for decades," he said. "Plus , it was tongue-in-cheek, for God's sake."

In the spoof ad created by Chevy's agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partenrs, San Francisco, a handful of Silverado pickup owners make it through disaster but pause to mourn a friend who didn't make it because "he drove a Ford." Then one eats a Twinkie.

The Silverado and Ford's F series are among the best-selling light trucks in the U.S. Ford sold 585,000 F series trucks in 2011, and Chevy moved about 415,000 Silverados, according to data from Automotive News.

Ford's letter had asked GM to remove the commercial from all venues. "Ford demands that Chevrolet immediately cease and desist from making any unsubstantiated and disparaging claims regarding Ford's pickup trucks," said the letter from Ford lawyer Lynne Matuszak, according to the Detroit News. It also demanded that GM not run the ad and to "permanently remove the commercial from its website, its YouTube and Facebook pages."

GM says it has no plans to comply.

"We've made our point," said Mike Levine, Ford's Truck Communications manager, on Monday. "We always will defend our products. As you're aware, this sort of advertising protest happens from time. Any further actions will be handled by our legal experts."

"We don't agree with some of GM's claims in their ad, particularly around durability," Mr. Levine added. "What's important is that Ford F-Series is proud to be the best-selling truck in America for 35 years, the best-selling vehicle in America for 30 years and Ford is the brand with the most pickup trucks on the road with more than 250,000 miles."

It there a "winner" in this tiff? Did it help promote Chevy, or Ford, or both? Let us know what you think.

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