‘UnFordlike’ squashed cane toad video is not scam, says Ford marketing director

The marketing director of Ford Australia has rubbished the suggestion that a gruesome online video for the Falcon EcoBoost, which features a squashed cane toad but barely shows the car itself, is ‘scam’ – an ad made by the agency with the sole intention of winning awards.

The video launched a week ago and has amassed more than 73,000 views at the time of writing.

Ford Australia’s general manager of marketing David Katic told Mumbrella: “I’ve never been in a conversation with an agency where we talked about winning awards. Our aim is to build our brand and sell some cars. My agency knows that making an ad just to win an award would be totally unacceptable.”

The video, made by JWT Melbourne, is the “most successful viral video Ford has ever created” in Australia, Katic said. There are no plans to air the video, which has raised eyebrows due to its graphic nature, on television.

“You have to understand the piece in the context of the medium it’s in. Of course it’s not something we’d put on TV,” he said.

To a question on why the Falcon barely features in the ad, Katic said: “It’s not like we’re launching a new product. The Falcon has been in Australia for 51 years. People know what it looks like. The piece is about the technology, which is why you don’t see the car until at the end.”

He added: “People keep using the term ad. It’s not an ad. It’s not even a campaign. You’re not going to see frogs on bus shelters and billboards. It’s a video that we hoped would go viral. Yes, a video of this nature is very unFordlike. Which is exactly why we made it. We want people to think differently about our brand, and it’s working.”

Katic would not reveal the production budget of the video, but said it was “extremely affordable”, costing 10% of a regular Ford TV ad.


  1. Lucio
    9 May 12
    10:15 am

  2. Is it just me? I find the ad quite dull and totally predictable. It’s a yawn.

  3. Peter Bray
    9 May 12
    10:52 am

  4. “Of course it’s not something we`d put on TV”

    But it is something you would put somewhere that has the largest potential viewership? A brand shouldn’t change just because it is online. Content is content.

  5. joe p
    9 May 12
    11:04 am

  6. “Viral” video: 73,000 views

    Video of a guy lighting his fart on fire: 2.5 million views

  7. goodone
    9 May 12
    11:22 am

  8. Fail.

    Probably some good thinking behind it, just brought to life poorly. Content is dull, and too long. They seem to be moving in the right direction though, so will probably get it right eventually.

  9. what he said
    9 May 12
    11:32 am

  10. Agree with Peter Bray 100%.

    “Of course it’s not something we’d put on TV” plus “people know what it looks like” fails marketing 101.

  11. Rushdie
    9 May 12
    12:27 pm

  12. Wandering dialogue lets it down. Great as a 15sec spot

  13. Rawnocerous
    9 May 12
    12:34 pm

  14. Flawed distribution strategy aside, its a lovely spot. Yes, you know what’s coming but big shit.

    Way ahead of most of the category.

  15. Logic
    9 May 12
    1:04 pm

  16. liked it but didn’t really like the ending

  17. New_Standards
    9 May 12
    1:09 pm

  18. I like the spot and love the Toads, however I do see Ford now saying ‘We need to make a thirty second viral video for TV’ given that it was ‘10% of a regular Ford TV ad.’

  19. Archie
    9 May 12
    1:15 pm

  20. so Ford makes a cheap viral video that they think is quite successful but Mumbrella’s article leads with some strawman-beating in the form of Ford denying an accusation that no-one’s actually made? Did the Ford trade PR pitch the story this way or did Mumbrella mangle it? or is this just typical of the silly dance required to get marketing trade rag coverage?

  21. PT
    9 May 12
    1:51 pm

  22. @Peter Bray. I think what he’s saying is that he’d never run this piece on TV because it wouldn’t suit the medium, not because he’s afraid it be seen in large numbers by the wrong people.

    He isn’t worried about the brand being destroyed, he’s referring to the fact that there’s no way he’d spend gazillions on mainstream media fees to air a spot that shows the car for .01 seconds. He’s putting up his hand and saying ‘if this was a TVC and I’m investing all this money, you can bet there will be millions of price points and heavy metal shots on this bad boy.’

    It’s just the same as he wouldn’t create a retail driven ‘drive away’ campaign specifically for YouTube.

    I personally would have thought the MD of a reputable digital agency would be the first to praise a MD of a big national brand for realising YouTube isn’t just another channel to spit out your TVC, and that despite both being ‘content’, have very different audiences and very different requirements.

  23. Peter Bray
    9 May 12
    2:59 pm

  24. @PT

    I think it’s great that the marketing director of a large brand want to use YouTube. But if as he states he wants people to think differently about the brand, why just one channel, and why YouTube?

    I thought we were past the point in our industry where we think online messaging can be edgier so therefore it should be.

    I really like the piece, it’s just I believe that the brand positioning should be consistent, and that video is usually a trailer to something larger. You make a good point about not wanting to spend on media, but then you have to ask why it really exists in situ.

    And thanks for the kudos, but I’m not the MD of a digital agency.

  25. TJ
    9 May 12
    4:01 pm

  26. I’ve only just started studying advertising/media but isn’t the point of any communication piece is to get people to take out a message? 73,000 people have taken out the message here! Traditional media is boring. Well done for doing something different that is not expected from Ford.
    You guys all watched it and all commented making it even more successful…………………..

  27. Logic
    9 May 12
    4:28 pm

  28. not to be a party pooper but half the views are from outside AU and the largest source of traffic is a US auto blog.

    TJ – a free lesson from me to you is PR on media/ad blogs doesn’t mean anything is a success/good/worthy etc

  29. Hmmmm
    9 May 12
    10:46 pm

  30. Logic – a free lesson for you my friend. Gaining exposure via PR on media/ad blogs is a success. Getting in front of people who are indeed influencers and power users of social media etc. is not a bad goal to aspire to.

  31. Junior
    9 May 12
    10:54 pm

  32. I think it’s great.

    Y’all are just too old to appreciate that younger people enjoy things differently.

  33. John Grono
    9 May 12
    11:44 pm

  34. TJ – your definition of successful is strange.

  35. Adam
    10 May 12
    8:19 am

  36. Nice work ford. Innovation in communications is reflective of innovation in the company. You have a way to go but it’s a great start.

  37. TJ
    10 May 12
    8:25 am

  38. Logic. Cheers for the lesson, but I disagree. I believe the point of a viral video is for it to communicate a message and success is for this message to have been viewed and for the video to have been discussed in various forums. Look at us talking abut it. Bad or good discussion is better than no discussion as an ad of a car driving down a highway would of generated!

  39. John Grono
    10 May 12
    10:45 am

  40. Hmmm, Duncan Watts (Aussie researcher and up until recently Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research) disagrees with you concluding that ‘it is impossible to reliably generate large effects by targeting a few key influencers’ (Admap, February 2012). I know who I concur with.

  41. D1CK0
    10 May 12
    11:22 am

  42. Hit a real Cane Toad and not a CGI one and then I’ll be interested.

    I might have watched it, but I’m not impressed by it and I’m not buying a shitbox Ford.

  43. Reality
    11 May 12
    1:47 pm

  44. @DICKO if you look closely the toads are not CGI. Funny that.