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August 08, 2005
Ford Hops Away From Hip Hopper Eminem
Ford Motor Co. was planning to place its new Fusion car in the Eminem video, "Ass Like That" in the hopes of creating some buzz around what is a pretty ho-hum style. While the automaker is keen to have some of Eminem's aura rub off on its product, the family-oriented Ford now says the song's lyrics were too racy for the Ford brand and backed out of the deal and even future dealings with the performer who hails from Detroit.
In the song, in reference to Gwen Stefani, Eminem asks, "Will you pee-pee on me please" and in reference to Jessica Simpson, Eminen sings, "Jessica Simpson, looks oh so temptin', Nick I ain't never seen an ass like that. Everytime I see that show on MTV my pee-pee goes doing, doing, doing." Apparently, it's a bit too hard for Ford's executives to get behind.
It's tough for a brand that sells Explorer SUVs, Freestar minivans and Freestyle wagons to soccer Moms to go out on a product placement limb in such a video. And here lies the dilemma of managing such a big all-encompassing brand with so many products. The Mustang and Fusion aree right for some edgy, non-family marketing. But the gray heads at Ford are gun shy, and always have been about marketing ideas that couldn't run during the family hour or in the pages of Good Housekeeping.
I recall a few years back when the former chief of Ford's Premium Automotive Group, Wolfgang Reitzle, was gushing over how much he liked the Aston Martin catalog that contained jackets, jewelry, luggage, handcuffs...
Handcuffs? That one got by the censors at Ford headquarters until it was written about, the catalogs were recalled and the handcuffs eliminated. Aston Marti8n was James Bond's car for Pete's sake...surely 007 had occasion to sue handcuffs once in a while.
Meantime, Ford has been in discussions with hip hop mogul P. Diddy on two separate ocassions wanting to get a deal done with Diddy, once for the Lincoln Navigator and more recently with its Range Rover brand. The sticking point has been how much money the Didster wants, not whether or not all of his lyrics are pure and virgin (they surely are not). Makes you wonder who is drawing the lines at Dearborn about what is appropriate and what is not. One thing is for sure: when you enter into hip hop with your brand, you are in for a dollar even when you think you are just in with a dime.
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