When I arrived at the Geneva Auto Show on Wednesday morning, I noticed a Ford billboard on the outside walls of the Palexpo exposition hall that displayed the new Ford GT with just one word: LaFord. It took me a few seconds to make the connection between this billboard and the Ferrari LaFerrari, but when it struck me, I just smiled and thought: nicely done, Ford.
I didn’t pay any attention to it the next day, until a few other journalists told me they had noticed the poster had been changed overnight, and it no longer had the reference to Ferrari. This left us wondering: why did they change the billboard? Was it only there for one day, just for the journalists on the press days? Because the Geneva Auto Show wouldn’t open for the public until Thursday. Or did Ferrari complain? That would be strange, because there are many examples of car ads taking a friendly stab at the competition, and most of the times, the targeted company responds in a similar matter, resulting in a funny game of advertising “battles” that benefits both companies as it gets attention on the internet, in the same way this ad has done for Ford (but not for Ferrari).
The most well-known battles are those between Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, and between BMW and Audi, but perhaps supercar maker Ferrari doesn’t want to be compared to an “ordinary” Ford. They could’ve come up with something like these two:
But then again, I’m sure the Ford GT as a spiritual successor to the GT40 still hits a sensitive spot at Ferrari considering the history of the original GT40, which was conceived by Henry Ford II, who wanted to build a Ferrari-fighting LeMans car after Enzo Ferrari walked out of a deal to sell his company to Ford. And we all know the GT40 eventually beat the Ferraris in 1966, so I can imagine taking a stab at proud Italians almost 60 years later may still hurt.
If that’s the case of course. Until Ford officially makes a statement on why they changed the billboard poster, the whole Ferrari-connection is all plain and simple conspiracy theory. But sometimes conspiracies are true, and sometimes it’s simply a lot of fun to imagine there’s a conspiracy…..