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Ford's 'Unapproved' Ad to Backfire

sportkacat.jpg

Ewww. Call PETA and fire the guy that came up with this disgusting idea. It seems to be another example of sub-viral marketing, in which companies set up their own campaigns that seem to be created by an Internet prankster. Then they have their PR firm spread the word about the supposed spoof. Well, Ford is really over the top on this one, and it should backfire on them.

AdRants reports on an "un-approved" ad for Ford SportKa that has found its way virally to market. In an "approved" ad, the SportKa kills a pigeon that's trying to land on the hood. In this one, a cat gets its head cut off by the car's sunroof. Yecch. Blecch! Disgusting! View it at Viralmeister (who sounds like a pretty sick guy himself, saying he wished they had included a close-up of the cat.)

Ford says the concept is "abhorrent," adding, "It was done as a proposal somewhere deep down in the bowels of the agency. As soon as we saw it we said absolutely not. We are appalled - this is not something we want to be associated with."

But this sounds too much like the Puma pornographic ad flap that turned out to be an ad produced by its agency. And the Mastercard oral sex ad that is also said to have been produced by its agency.

The goal of sub-viral campaigns is to lodge brands in consumers' minds something that is increasingly more difficult to do in the crowded information landscape today. While they can result in millions of dollars worth of free publicity, these ads also can backfire.

They're designed to look amateurish, but they're not. Some are done by PR firms, some by ad agencies. And sometimes, companies pay to have the ad seeded on viral marketing sites like Eatmail.

Related links:
- Ford Uses Movie Spoof to Promote Sportka
- Ford Keeps Sportka Controversy Alive
- Amazing Honda Ad
- Honda Cog Ad Parody
- BK Spreads Viral Chicken
- Wired: BK's Chicken Effort a Porn Takeoff

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