Tag Archives: Ford

Lincoln, design mysteries and the luxury car

Living in Connecticut, you begin to master the subtleties of the world of the high-end automobile.  

I don’t own one of these magnificent machines.  But of necessity I have become their student.  

So today, on the way to lunch, I was impressed to see a luxury car I did not recognize.  On closer scrutiny it proved to be a Lincoln.  ”Wow,” I thought, “they finally got something right.”  

Cars represent an interesting chapter of the designification of America (by which I mean the new sophistication in matters of design that has comes to virtually every category of consumer good).  They went from terrible to something less disagreeable and in some cases to something close to splendid.  

Ford let the way here with success stories across their line of automobiles.  All but the Lincoln that is.  These have remained really horrible.  Tone deaf.  As if somehow, someone at Ford has taken the Lincoln line captive, perhaps casting it into a deep sleep preventing any participation in the design thinking revolution.  

So I was thrilled, finally, to see a Lincoln that didn’t suck.  

I asked the owner, “Hey, when did this come out?”  

He looked at me with surprise and said, “This car is 10 years old.”  

When did gray become the color of fast and powerful

Last night walking in Atlanta I saw three muscle cars that were gray.  Actually, I think one was a Jaguar doing an impersonation of a muscle car.  Low, sleek and noisy.  

So two muscles and a Jag.  

I noticed because of the ad now circulating that shows a gray Mustang prowling urban streets.

It’s an effective piece of advertising.  (The Ford triumph continues.)  I found myself thinking,” this isn’t selling Mustangs, it’s selling grey Mustangs.”  Dealers are going to be swamped by requests for “the grey one” and they will have to talk buyers into a red or a green.  Good luck.  This ad makes gray the necessary color.  

But I had it wrong.  This was a case of life imitating art.  Team Detroit was drawing from existing practice, not creating it. 

Which raises the question: when did gaey become the color of fast and powerful?  The follow up question: why?  What is it about gray that makes it the necessarily choice.  What is there in the cultural significance of gray (past and present) that makes it the compelling choice?  

Start your engines.  This is an official Minerva contest.  Usual terms apply.  Fewer than 1000 words, crisp, high concept, well written. Guessing, especially really good guessing, is perfectly ok.  But if you actually know something about car culture and color culture, please do share.  

If you are on the creative team of the Mustang ad, I would like to put you on the judging panel. Would Team Detroit’s Toby Barlow, Eric McClellan, Adam Hull, Nick Flora, Ron Schlessinger, Arty Tan and/or Bob Rashid, please contact me at grant27ATgmail.com.

More details

The sound track comes from Band of Skulls.  Please tell us what this music does for the ad. 

The production players


Client: Ford Mustang

Title: _PG

Length: 60-seconds

Airdate: 4/28 TV; 4/30 cinemas

Agency: Team Detroit, Inc.

EVP, Chief Creative Officer: Toby Barlow

EVP, Group Creative Director: Eric McClellan

Creatives: Adam Hull, Nick Flora, Ron Schlessinger, Arty Tan

Producer: Bob Rashid

Production Company: Stardust / Santa Monica, CA

Director: Jake Banks

Executive Producer: Paul Abatemarco

Head of Production: Josh Libitsky

Line Producer: Paul Ure

Director of Photography: Max Malkin

Design & Animation Company: Stardust / Santa Monica, CA

Post / Editorial Producer: Alex More

Designers: Neil Tsai, Gretchen Nash, Bill Bak, Ling Feng, Juliette Park, Angela Ko

Compositors: Alan Latteri, Chris Howard

Animators: Jason Lowe, Giancarlo Rondani, Joseph Andrade, Kevin Ta, James Yi

Type/Element shoot: Stokes-Kohne Associates Inc.

Editorial Company: Cut + Run

Editor: Frank Effron

Post / Editorial Producer: Alex More

Telecine: New Hat

Colorist: Beau Leon

Music Search Company: Agoraphone

Music Supervisor: Dawn Sutter-Madell & Jasmine Flott

Song: Band of Skulls "Light Of The Morning"

Sound Design & Mix: 740 Sound Design

Executive Producer: Scott Ganary

Sound Designer : Andrew Tracy

Sound Designer : Eddie Kim

Mixer : Mike Franklin

Vehicle Drivers: Brent Fletcher, Kelly Hine


Wilkening, Matthew.  2010.  2011 Ford Mustang Commercial – What’s that song?  AOL Radio Blog.  May 10.  here.

See the ad here.

The Fiesta movement by Ford, Undercurrent and Bud Caddell

I posted a piece on the Ford Fiesta Movement today on the Harvard Business Review blog. You will find it here.

Thanks again to Bud Caddell for the interview in December.

I am on the look out for more exemplars, people who now serve as Chief Culture Officers but are not (yet) identified as such. Please identify yourselves.

This post was lost thanks to the Network Solutions debacle last year.  I am reposting it today, December 24, 2010.