Thursday 13 September 2012

Ford Social : Dad Dancing

Learning to drive has been a rite of passage, as a way to impress your teenage friends, so getting you into "a habit" that starts off with a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa and ends with you driving down the M4 for a living in a BMW M5, talking into your phone, complaining about traffic and demanding that "more motorways are good for the economy" -because your time is worth more than losers on foot, bus or bike.

It's an addiction -once you stop walking and cycling, you view it as "childhood hobbies" -something you can see from the fuckwit's letters to the local rags -and reflected in the "bicycles shouldn't be there" rants from drivers. It is also reflected in the TfL, Dft, West of England Partnership viewpoints -which is dangerous as they design the roads.

A key threat to Imperial Car is that driving goes out of fashion, that teenagers stop aspiring to drive, that young adults choose to do other things. What other things? Facebook, twitter, emails, texting. Talking to their friends instead of reading car magazines.

What will the car manufacturers do? Ford Social.

Look at this piece of turgid web site. You can get ford "badges" for your own facebook page -and notice how the bicycle is in the "play" category -shown on the roof of an SUV, not in use in a town. Indeed, Ford Social doesn't have any photograph of a car in a situation with pedestrians or cyclists. They aren't part of Ford Society.

This whole web site is "Dad Dancing" -Ford trying to be hip and cool to the youth and doing it so badly it's painful. Want an example, hit the "social networks" button on the bottom and you'll see one icon that you won't recognise. It's for Delicious. Once upon a time that was a "Web 2.0 company", though Yahoo! bought it and effectively shut it down. In 2010.

Dad-dancer Ford Social hasn't picked this up yet, and still links to it, even though that page vanished a while ago.

We are lucky that this isn't going to get new recruits to driving, any more than a Dad Dance to Joy Division is going to inspire interest by the offspring into late 1980s music. Instead it's preaching to the converted -Ford customers- to reassure them that they made the right decision -and that they should buy a new Ford, either a later model or a status upgrade.

Maybe that will work. What it -hopefully- will fail to do is get the rest of society to care, as seeing what your friends are up to on Facebook is way more interesting.

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