It’s a Ford, or is it?

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Ford Motor Co. recently rolled out its new “Go Further” advertising campaign, featuring slick TV spots of new models, purposely omitting the corporate logo and not mentioning the company by name.

The Dearborn, Michigan automaker turned industry heads on this risky marketing tactic, spurring a huge onslaught of national corporate publicity, which is a coup in its own right. The ads show redesigned versions of the Fusion sedan and Escape sport-utility vehicle and end by displaying the website.

New advertising campaigns by major brands do not always generate extra-needed buzz, but Ford’s strategy is paying off, with more than three million people already viewing the ads online.

Ford no doubt has a perception problem.  Even the company says so, calling attention to focus groups of car buyers that reacted more favorably to the new models before they knew they were made by Ford.

The good news is that the company has been on a roll lately, launching new models featuring state-of-the art technology usually found in more expensive autos.   Cool body redesigns, improved fuel economy and the fact that Ford did not file for bankruptcy in 2006 catapulted the brand to new favorable heights.

The issue is that consumers still view Ford as in years past, old and stodgy.  Giving car buyers an opportunity to see the cars for what that they are and not about the brand really can help start to change opinion and influence change.

But Ford still has work to do.  The company still trails Honda and Toyota in the U.S. in terms of brand perception.  However, with net income falling 45 percent in the last quarter and shares declining more than four percent this year, the company has a long road ahead.

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