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1. Introduction to the two selected advertisements
1.1 Statement of selection
Volkswagen and Ford are both worldwide famous vehicle manufactures with competitive relationship between these two vivid brands that share the similar target consumers because of their similar products that both rang from bus, cargo vehicle, sport utility vehicle (SUV) to commercial cars. And recently these two giant vehicle manufactures had released a new car separately, and it would be interesting to study their print advertisements that appeared in the same magazine with back to back on the same page.
Figure 1.0 Brand Mark of Volkswagen Figure 2.0 Brand Mark of Ford
1.2 The new Passat CC from Volkswagen (released in 2008)
“What’s certain is that anonymity is not an option”, the slogan on the advertisement (see Appendix 1.0) with big bold character shows the feature and positioning of new Passat CC (Figure 3.0) to make itself stand out and attract public attraction.
Figure 3.0 The new Passat CC
1.3 The New Ford Escape (released in 2008)
As claiming in the print ad (sees Appendix 2.0), New Ford Escape (Figure 4.0) provides perfect balance between contemporary styling and true SUV capabilities which is also the main features that the whole ad tries to express.
Figure 4.0 The New Ford Escape
2. The reason for each publication to reach specific target market
The two ads are publicized on the Autocar, one of the most populous magazines specialized in car testing and car news reporting, these two new car chose the Autocar magazine for print advertising to reach specific target market for the two following reasons. Firstly, the readers of the Autocar are mostly the target consumers in Malaysia the two new cars; it is a good chance to get the cars known to the public. Secondly, as a professional car magazine, the ads on the Autocar would have a hint of professional recommendation to the readers.
3. Similarities and differences
3.1 Product positioning
A company’s positioning strategy is based on the combination of price, quality and service. (Baker 2000, p206) In term of price, the advertised price for the New Ford Escape is RM 134,837 which is quite economic in the category of SUV, in compare there is not even a price on the print ad of the new Passat CC, and its actual price is around RM 239,888 (Paultan.org 2009), this is a relatively medium to high price in this category, but these two cars in general share similar target market which is focusing on the middle class. And in term of quality, obviously the Passat CC is positioning in the high quality, for example, its ad has focused on the stunning good looks, excellent engine (7.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/j) and so on. In contrast, the New Ford Escape has its details on the feel efficient and good functions in the SUV performance such as best ground clearance for its class. And in term of style, there is major difference between these two cars. The New Ford Escape is a very masculine SUV while the new Passat CC is a sporty, attractive and 4-door coupe.
Branding reduces price comparisons by providing consistent quality promise. (Etzel, Walker & Stanton 2007, p259) The brand marks of these two giant companies are different. The brand mark of Volkswagen consists of the letter V and W with the V on top which are the acronym of its German brand name “Volks Wagenwerk” (sees Figure 1.0), and it could also be understood as three “V” which stands for victory. On the other side, the brand mark of Ford has another story, its vivid character of “Ford” is like a running rabbit and the blue background of the mark means the nature, these together shows the great love of nature and animal of the founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford. In term of branding strategy, the two companies adopt similar strategies. As for both vehicles, they are both advertised under its company name, but they also have their own product name, Escape and Passat CC. So they both use the branding strategy of combination of company name and a product name. Branding with the company name reduce the cost to introduce new similar products.
3.3 Differences in ad execution
3.3.1 Ad communication
Though both of these two print ads are using the magazine as the channel of the message transmission, they adopted different ways of ad communication. As for Passat CC from Volkswagen, the print ad has been trying every means to mark the 4-door coupe with the key words of gorgeous, stunning, perfect and enjoyment. In this way the ad tries to be attractive to the consumers emotionally and encourage the consumers to be different from common, and that is why it adopts the slogan, “What’s certain is that anonymity is not an option.” In contrast, except a part of sentimental stimulation with the slogan of “Not having to fight for a parking spot. That’s my Escape”, the New Ford Escape has put more details into the introduction of the powerful SUV performance, competitive price and excellent fuel efficiency. In this way, the New Ford Escape’s print ad communicates in a more rational way to tell that the New Ford Escape has enough SUV capabilities.
3.3.2 Object of the ads
In term of object and goal of ad, the two ads have different objects. On one hand, the New Ford Escape as mentioned above is a persuasive ad by stating the power function and clear price to convince the consumer to buy the price competitive SUV. What’s more the ad mark out the word “Book yours today!” on the print advertisement to stimulate the desire of buying. And on the other hand, the ad of the new Passat CC is more acting in an informative role which focuses in the introduction of the new car and how extraordinary it is. Also for those who have already known the car, this ad is playing in a role of reminder to strengthen its publicity. (Summers, Gardiner, Lamb, Hair & Daniel 2005)
3.3.3 Execution Style
There are also obvious variations between these two ads in term of execution style. The New Ford Escape ad focuses more on the SUV life style which describes the life of driving on the rocks breathing fresh air and escape the busy modern life and that is why it is called Escape. On the other hand, the new Passat CC ad woks more on the style of fantasy that it tries effortlessly to transmit to the consumers. In the print ad, the new Passat CC stands in a busy street with a lot of ordinary people crossing by, and the 4-door coupe stands out apparently and look very wonderful and 360 degree gorgeous as the ad states. A feeling of fantasy and noble can be sensed by the readers.
3.3.4 Tone of ad
The tones of the two ads also have a slight difference. The new Passat CC has a positive tune to encourage to readers to abandon the word of anonymity and stand out of common, this tune is very positive by showing the people extraordinary products. In contrast, the New Ford Escape adopts a mixed tune of factual tune by stating the detailed feature of the SUV and tune of escaping the restrictions of the normal life by putting the car on the brink of the cliff and the driving making a stretch with his hands open for a hug of nature.
4. Recommendations to enhance both ads
4.1 New Ford Escape
As for the ad of New Ford Escape, a standalone brand could be adopted to reduce pressure to keep consistence of the product lines, and on the other hand by using an independent brand which is different from the company’s brand of “Ford”, the company could also increase the sale of the cars.
4.2 New Passat CC
As for the ad of the new Passat CC, considering the fact that the vehicle is a 4-door coupe that has the attractive feature of sporting utility, the new Passat CC in the print ad should be running in a fast speed and let the ordinary street behind to show the sporting style.
Jane Summers, Michael Gardiner, Charles W. Lamb, Joseph F.Hair & Carl Mc Daniel, 2005, Essentials of Marketing, 2nd edn, Thomson, Singapore
Michael J Baker 2000, Marketing Theory: A Student Text, Business Press, Singapore, p206
Michael J. Etzel, Bruce J. Walker & William J. Stanton, 2007, Marketing, 14 edn, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston, p259
Paultan.org 2009, nd., Prices for Volkswagen Passat CC and Scirocco officially unveiled; both cars in showrooms, [online], available: http://paultan.org/2009/10/30/prices-for-volkswagen-passat-cc-and-scirocco-officially-unveiled-both-cars-in-showrooms/
Appendix 1.0 The new Passat CC print ad
Appendix 2.0 The New Ford Escape print ad