Ad Agency, Industrial Design Firm New Business Opportunity: Ford

Wanted: passionate, creative designers
by Todd Knutson

On my plane to Connecticut this past weekend I got into a recent article in Fortune Magazine titled "Fixing Up Ford." It's all about Alan Mulally's drive to save Ford. And he's doing some great stuff. Consider the following:

  • Focusing on the Ford brand (good news for all those agencies who have pieces of it)
  • Competing in every market segment with small, medium and large car, utilities and trucks
  • Marketing only 40 nameplates -down from 97 three years ago (hopefully this means increased media spending on those remaining)

And then came this...

Become the best in class in quality, fuel efficiency, safety, and value.

What happened to design?!

Now I'm on my soapbox: why can't American car companies design great looking cars? If the Japanese, Germans, Swedes, and Koreans can, surely we can, too.

So, this is the new business opportunity for creative people everywhere, whether in an ad agency, industrial design firm, or design school: how can you get the attention of Alan Mulally, and get him to realize that he can fix Ford by outsourcing design?

If I had a zillion dollars, I'd love to sponsor a global design competition. Offer handsome prizes for the top 5 designs, say $10,000,000 for the top prize, and then pitch the winning designs to Mulally and his executive team. Or, how about an American Idol for car design?

This is a huge opportunity!

I'd love to hear what you think. Have any of you tried to pitch Ford with design ideas? How were you received?

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