Ford Catches One Of Toyota's Big Fish

Ford Motor Co. today said that James D. Farley, group vice president of Toyota Motor Co.'s Lexus Division, will be Ford's first chief
marketing and communications officer.
"We are thrilled to welcome one of the most successful and talented leaders in the industry to the Ford Motor Company team," CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement, confirming a story first reported in this column today. "Jim Farley is well known for innovative marketing strategies that connect great products to today's and tomorrow's customers. Ford's quality and vehicles are now on par with the best of the competition. We look forward to Jim's leadership to combine world- class marketing with our world-class products worldwide."
The move is a signature appointment by Mulally, who has openly criticized Ford's marketing efforts and signaled his desire to install top marketing talent at the Glass House. Farley's arrival also will be yet another high-profile defection from vaunted Toyota to a Detroit automaker, suggesting that highly regarded industry pros see opportunity in their beleaguered rivals.
"Farley is their superstar," a source familiar with the situation told me today, adding that Ford has been talking with Farley off and on for a year. "It's a done deal. This is a good move for us. This is the guy we wanted. He has an engineering background."
The appointment of Farley, 45, was approved today by Ford's directors. As the first head of global marketing and communications for Ford, he would assume what is arguably the industry's most monumental marketing challenge. Ford has foundered amid weak campaigns, discarded and then revived brand names like Taurus, poor product definition and plunging market share.
Under Mulally, an aerospace engineer and 37-year veteran of Boeing Co. before arriving at Ford last fall, key marketing decisions -- such as reviving the Taurus model name -- have been pushed by him, a engineer- cum-CEO who understands his limitations in the marketing world.
It's hard to overstate the symbolism of Farley's appointment by Ford. That a rising Toyota star, the head of Lexus and a founder of its Scion youth brand would bolt the Japanese juggernaut for the struggling Blue Oval is a testament to Mulally's leadership, the strength of Ford's current lineup, the promise of its future products and the upside in it all.
And unlike Chrysler LLC, which could use the opaque world of private equity to woo Farley's old boss, Jim Press, from Toyota North America to Auburn Hills, Ford is doing so in the more transparent world of public companies.
These moves are not accidental, but instead telegraph a determination to land top talent at Detroit companies that have historically shunned outsiders. Not anymore. Both Ford and Chrysler now are headed by industry outsiders whose paths to the CEO offices here were paved by their success elsewhere and their willingness to look outside their new companies for the best marketing talent they can find.
Mulally, for one, has long been an admirer of Toyota. While head of Boeing's commercial aviation unit, he studied its production methods and adapted them to aircraft assembly. Nor is he shy about conceding that the model he envisions for Ford -- "one Ford," built around the promise of a solid Blue Oval, not ancillary, money-losing luxury brands -- is the Toyota model.
Before heading Lexus, the nation's top-selling luxury brand, Farley was group vice president of Toyota Division marketing. He was responsible for all Toyota Division market planning, advertising, merchandising, sales promotion, incentives and Internet activities. He also served as vice president of Scion, Toyota's youth-oriented brand.
Farley, who earned a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from UCLA, joined Toyota in 1990 in the strategic-planning department.
---end of article ----
Very interesting. First Chrysler lures Toyota's Jim Press away, and now Ford grabs Farley. Either Toyota has an over abundance of talent, is cleaning house after a string of recent recalls or maybe after climbing the mountain to the #1 spot (it's easier to get there than stay there) it's starting to come apart at the seams. We shall see...
Patrick
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I read this the other day. I wonder if it will make a difference for Ford.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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I sure hope so. I think most of their commercials suck big time. In some of them they flash the pictures of the car so fast that you don't get a long enough view to even tell what they look like. Maybe it's just my choice of TV shows but I never see any ads for the 500 and that should be one of their main profit centers. Come to think of it, I don't see a whole lot of ads for their pickups either.
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The pickup ads are possibly their one bright spot, IMO. They have Mike Rowe from the show "Dirty Jobs" as the spokesman and he is fairly entertaining in them. I see Ford truck commercials quite a bit but I watch The History Channel, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, HGTV, Food Network, National Geographic and reruns of CSI 90% of the time. I think you're not seeing Ford 500 commercials because they are getting ready to badge it as the new Taurus. I see way to many Mercury commercials with that chick. I know they are trying to sell them to women but they need another marketing approach.
Ashton Crusher wrote:

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Michael Johnson wrote:

Heh as that very Milan ad goes off on the H channel. I have those same TV habits. I always hated the Chevy truck ads where they always compare themselves to Ford by name. IMO that's a sign of someone who knows they are behind and disparate to catch up, knowing their product is inferior. Toyota is even worse making absolute false claims in their ads at times, I called a sales goob at a Toyota lot on it once.
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I could not agree more! To cite the competition in your ads by name is, IMO, affirming/reminding that THEY are the standard. Dumb, dumb, dumb...
Patrick
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Although maybe they should try that now, I mean from head on the new GM truck looks like a Ford and from the ass end it looks like a Dodge.
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The Taurus is already on sale, and there have already been commercials that advertise it as one of the safest fullsize cars - http://www.autoblog.com/2007/06/15/ford-taurus-safety-ads-set-to-go-live /
However, there is still "fixing" to do because even with the name change, the sales are not where they were hoped to be - http://www.autoobserver.com/2007/10/ford-taurus-wha.html
Michael Johnson wrote:

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I have yet to see one Taurus commercial. They need a full on ad bliz for it, IMO.
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Ah, see, you just have to sign up for Ford's newsletters. They're pushing the Taurus bigtime through their email campaign.
dwight
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Bah. We'll see how many ads Ford has in the next Superbowl. That'll tell the real story.
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Ford will probably air commercials in the Super Bowl that is worthless for generating meaningful sales. Something like showing a GT500 or just flash concept cars that no one can buy. All I can say is this new guy from Toyota has his work cut out for him.
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Read an article on him today in the paper. Apparently, he's a "good guy". He used to hobnob with the little people in Toyota. Took a doorman (I think) to a Lakers game once. Gazillion dollar seats. That's the kind of guy the article painted him out to be. If it's true, there's hope yet!

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Sounds like he at least understands the common people. More than I can say for the Ford family.
Joe wrote:

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I don't think Ford is going to turn things around through an email campaign but then I'm not a marketing guru. I would think they should play off the past popularity of the Taurus in the commercials. Show a lineage or history of the Taurus brand and remind us of why it was the best selling car for several years running and state this is by far the best Taurus ever made and is in the spirit of the original. Maybe take a few pages from the Mustang's marketing play book. The Taurus is one of the few cars it has left with any name recognition and, IMO, one of the few that has the potential to sell 300k-400k units a year. I should be seeing a Taurus commercial every hour for the next several weeks. I think it would give better results than playing a Mercury Milan commercial every hour.
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Mike,
I think it's too late for this approach. It would have worked if when the Ford 500 debuted it was called the Taurus. But now, everyone knows the "new Taurus", dispite it's latest improvements, is still just a rebadged Ford 500. Maybe when this marketing goof-up fades after a few years and an all-new Taurus is designed then they can play on the heritage.
Patrick
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

No doubt it would be a marketing ploy but letting the car sit on the lots is not going to help. I haven't seen one Taurus ad on television. I think you're giving the consumer too much intelligence regarding the matter. There are millions of Taurus' (Tauri?) on the road with drivers that just might check out a "new" one if they knew it existed. Right now I would wager hardly anyone knows the Taurus is back.
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