.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Ford by any other name is still a Ford

What do you call a Ford Five Hundred that doesn’t sell? A Taurus. Or at least, that’s what the folks at Ford intend to do. They are renaming the Ford Five Hundred, the full-sized sedan that replaced the Taurus in 2005, the Taurus—all in an effort to revive sales.

The logic behind this move? Here’s what Mark Fields, Ford's President of The Americas, had to say at the recent Chicago Auto Show: “Taurus has been an icon for Ford's family sedan for more than two decades, and it's time to return this powerful name to where it belongs. Consumer awareness of the Taurus name is double the Five Hundred that it's replacing.”

Fields went on to say, “By giving these vehicles the names that consumers recognize at the same time we're making significant upgrades, we're confident that even more people are going to be attracted to these great products in the future." I love it when they talk like that.

This reminds me, in a way, of when The Coca-Cola Company launched New Coke, and then, because of consumer backlash, hastily relaunched Classic Coke. Marketing-wise, it was the stuff that dreams were made of. In fact, when asked if the whole deal was simply a marketing ploy,
Roberto Goizueta, Coke’s Chairman and CEO answered, “We are not that smart, and we are not that dumb."

Time will tell where the Ford Motor Company sits on that continuum.

[For other perspectives on this subject, check out Strategic Name Development and KirkWalsh.com]

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