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The new television commercial for the redesigned 2005 Mustang is a very cool piece of work – because it features Steve McQueen, who happened to die of cancer in 1980.

The commercial starts with a “Field of Dreams” type sequence, as a guy carves a racetrack out of a cornfield. Then, when he’s done, he pulls a brand new Mustang up to the starting line…and out from the corn steps McQueen, dressed just like he was in “Bullitt” back in 1968, the film in which the high-speed movie car chase was practically invented (with McQueen driving a Mustang, natch). The digitally recreated McQueen then hops into the new Mustang and floors it – revving up both the engine and memories of one of the great all-time movie stars and one of his best movies.

We don’t always like the use of dead celebrities’ images in advertising, but this seems to work because it a) has an organic quality that appropriately connects image and product, b) is technically seamless, and c) is just plain cool.
KC's View:
We thought this was worth mentioning because, in essence, Ford is engaging in brand re-definition…trying to re-establish a timeless brand for a new demographic. Ford doesn’t seem to be worried that a lot of younger people may not know who Steve McQueen is; the company thinks that the ad’s cool quotient will work regardless.

That’s hard for us to judge, since appreciating movies like “Bullitt” and “The Great Escape” and movie stars like Steve McQueen is part of growing up in our household; we have a 15-year-old boy who thinks that McQueen is one the coolest guys he’s ever seen in movies.

We’d like to think that means we’re doing our job.