Ford responded this week to Cadillac’s wildly popular (and equally divisive) electric ELR ad, which ran non-stop during the Olympics, with a parody ad featuring a more green-friendly, sustainability minded message.
While the Cadillac ad featured a cocky Neal McDonough endorsing Cadillac’s new high-performance plug-in electric hybrid in light of America’s reputation as a worldwide leader of engineering and innovation, Ford chose Pashon Murray of sustainability consultancy and advocacy group Detroit Dirt to advertise electric Fords as the eco-friendly choice.
It’s undoubtedly an important benefit of the sustainable energy future of automobiles, but not necessarily the most effective for advertising. One of the reasons hybrid vehicles like Toyota’s Prius – the butt of every car joke over the last half-decade – have yet to pick up broad-based market appeal is because of their use of bubble-like rounded, unaggressive and edgeless design, lacking elements that traditionally define American auto engineering.
The Ford model follows suit with its more rounded and compact design and the green-focused advertising message, while the Cadillac ELR features an aggressive narrow front end and sharp, sleek flowing angles as McDonough likens its forward-thinking innovative design to space exploration and above-average western work ethic.
Cadillac’s approach follows that of global leading American-based electric auto manufacturer Tesla, which consistently grabs headlines not for sustainability (though it’s certainly more than adequate and admirable in this department), but for performance, safety, and out-dragging industry legends like the BMW M5 or Dodge Viper.
The conservative versus liberal dichotomy is apparent, and whereas there’s obvious partisan disagreement over green energy and sustainability, we can all get behind innovation.