Ford Motor Company hopes to earn a place on the hybrid map in the U.S. with its new C-Max.
The company knows that won't be easy.
No one comes even close to the dominant sales position of the Toyota Prius line of vehicles - the original Prius, the smaller Prius C, and the larger Prius V.
Ford's new C-Max has a major bragging point: it beats the fuel economy of the Prius V by 7 miles per gallon on the highway.
The Prius is beloved by its owners; it has one of the highest loyalty ratings of any car.
So Ford has chosen a gentle style of humor over an aggressive pitch to sell the C-Max.
Ford today launched a series of ads using a cartoon character, "La Linea," -- a revival of the classic 1970s character from a popular Italian animated children’s series.
The ads show the character overcoming the performance limitations of a Toyota Prius, by driving a Ford C-Max. You can see one of the ads here:
“The ads are done with just the right tonality of competitiveness versus a strong competitor. It clearly positions our product in a fun way,” says Matt VanDyke, director, U.S. Marketing Communications, Ford Motor Company .
From Ford's press release:
Plenty of opportunities exist for Ford to position itself in a positive way against Prius.
For example, as the first Ford hybrid to achieve equal city and highway fuel economy figures, C-MAX Hybrid delivers EPA-certified 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway ratings – 7 mpg better than Priusv on the highway – for a 47 mpg combined rating.