2:43 pm - Saturday June 25, 2022

Ford and Farnham: a match made in advertising?

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JOHN Farnham is back … again. And this time he’s singing to drivers from disco heaven.

Or at least that’s what it looks like in the new ad for Ford’s SYNC, the “new in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands”.

Flash mobs in Melbourne and Sydney last week started the ball rolling; groups of men dressed like Farnham – blonde mullet wigs and rolled up jacket sleeves – serenaded perplexed commuters with You’re the Voice.

The stunt got noticed and an ad soon followed. The 60-second clip featured a young couple stuck in traffic using Ford’s SYNC technology. A button on the steering wheel is pressed and hey presto John Farnham suddenly appears. Cue chortle because Farnham is The Voice and Ford’s SYNC is all about voice control.

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David Katic, Ford Australia’s general marketing manager, told Mumbrella that the goal of ad was “to catch people by surprise and get them to think differently about our brand”.

The man behind the ad campaign, Richard Muntz, of JWT Melbourne, has described SYNC as “game-changing technology”, so why get an ageing 80s rocker who is a byword for cheese to flog it?

There is a long tradition of car manufacturers using rock and pop songs in their ads. It’s an easy way to lend your product a bit of glamour and edge, especially if the song is a popular one, and the hope is that viewers will associate the car with the song and the song with the car.

Chrysler’s use of Eminem’s Lose Yourself is particularly effective and had viewers all over the world excited when it made its debut during last year’s Superbowl.

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