afaqs!

Ford Fusion takes a dig at Fabia

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 12, 2008
Fusion, the no nonsense car from Ford, has employed tactical advertising in its latest radio spot to highlight its superiority to Skoda's Fabia

The new radio spot for & #BANNER1 & # Fusion, Ford's no nonsense car, which has been on air for a couple of weeks, openly compares itself with Fabia, Skoda's new hatchback.

The radio spot opens with two voiceovers. The first voice says, "I challenge you to milk a hen." The second voice replies, "You want a real challenge? I bet you won't buy the Fabia after you've test driven a Ford Fusion." The first voice asks him why, and the second voice replies, "In comparison to the three cylinder engine of a Fabia Classic, Ford Fusion has an advanced four cylinder TDCi engine, and many other impressive features." The first voice asks what he would get if he still went ahead and bought a Fabia. The second voice says he would have to be happy with just a fuel voucher worth Rs 2,500.

Ford Fusion
Scott McCormack, vice-president, marketing, sales and services, Ford India, says, "The ads were created because we had the confidence that if a consumer test drove a Ford Fusion, he would definitely buy it." Ford India ran its own internal check to see whether its ad would break any rules of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and found that it was well within the boundaries. McCormack says, "Comparative advertising has always been prevalent in the automotive sector. We are making a claim that challenges the consumer and that's about it."

Skoda Fabia
agencyfaqs! spoke to the ASCI about whether the radio spot could be deemed a breech of its rules. Allan Collaco, secretary general, ASCI, explained a few clauses in the ASCI code, one of which states, "The advertisement does not unfairly denigrate, attack or discredit other products, advertisers or advertisements directly or by implication." "This is one angle," says Collaco.

The other angle is that an advertisement can make comparisons, but the comparisons must be specific and factual. Another ASCI clause states, "The subject matter of comparison is not chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest a better bargain is offered than is truly the case."

agencyfaqs! also contacted Law & Kenneth, Skoda's creative agency. Anil Nair, president, Law & Kenneth, says, "We have spoken with Skoda and the matter has been discussed. Skoda would not like to acknowledge the radio spot in any way; we will just let it pass."

No one from Skoda was available for comment. No complaint has been registered yet with the ASCI.