Brand: Ford Escape Hybrid (Ford Motor Company)
Link: Click Here To View (Go to “Second Quarter”)
Target: Environmentalists with Families
Kermit the Frog (from Jim Henson’s Muppets) is mountain biking through a beautiful landscape, singing ‘It’s not easy being green.’ Then we see him kayaking and finally rock-climbing while the song continues. At the top of the mountain, he parts evergreen tree branches to revail a Ford Escape SUV. He looks inside it and walks around until he comes to the back where he sees the badge prominently saying “Hybrid” and then says, “Hmmm. I guess it is easy being green.” The mileage for the Escape Hybrid is shown in small type at the bottom of the screen. Then the voiceover says “The thirty-six mile per gallon Ford Escape Hybrid,” as the Ford logo and ‘Escape Hybrid’ shows.
Ford was the second spot on the Super Bowl to feature a hybrid car (Toyota was first with a ground-breaking spot featuring Hispanic actors and some Spanish language). Ford uses Kermit, the very recognizable, very green frog as a metaphor for environmental awareness. It is a very, very simple metaphor and it works. Why?
- Good Match to the Target Consumer – Ford understands that the reason to buy a Hybrid is emotional, not rational (for the consumer, the Hybrid is still more expense that the gas it saves). The consumer who is interested in the Hybrid is a consumer who wants to feel better about the environment. The consumer who is interested in an SUV likely has a family and needs the space. The play for Ford here is simple – the end benefit of the Escape is alleviating guilt.
- Simple Execution – A song and a nice, long product shot is all it takes to make the point here.
- Strong Affiliation – Kermit stands for green as do hybrids. It is an easy match. Showing Kermit doing green activities also helps.
- Strong Branding – Ford does not make the mistake of forgetting to show the product.
Putting a muppet in a commercial has to be at least as risky as using animals, possibly more. The potential for distraction is enormous. We would instantly be worried about brand recall. But it seems to work for Ford. Still, this is something to monitor closely.
Branding Bottom Line:
Ford pushes the cute button and scores.