Ford’s been trying to shake its old fogie reputation for a while now, and it seems to be working. The company’s got a lot of peoples’ interest with cool new Bronco and Bronco Sport, a new electric F-150, and the Mustang. CEO Jim Farley’s Twitter presence is probably the most relatable large brand bigwig you’ll find on the platform. Now, Ford’s graduated to what looks to be the next phase of their newfound youth fanbase by doing something called “posting cringe on main”.
Just look here.
Ford decided, one fateful Tuesday, to post a series of old and public domain memes lambasting typical critiques that folks have against EVs. The tweet stream cavalierly and glibly shouted down some of the concerns that folks have about EVs, but they did it in a way that, well, kind of called EV detractors, dumb. The whole thread seems like a honeypot for engagement. I can only imagine that some cable news or Twitter pundit will catch wind of the thread, and only further beat on Ford, but with the help of a much more politically charged fanbase.
Some of the typical pro-EV faces thought the tweet thread was clever, but by in large, the tweet stream went over about as well as a turd floating in your school dance’s punch bowl. Ford got, as the kids say, “ratioed”.
And well, they deserve it. Whilst doing the Car Bibles Exploring EVs test, one of the overarching themes I’ve learned, is how uninformed the overwhelming majority of drivers are. Many are curious, but EV tech is alien, charging a vehicle is hard to conceptualize, and no one is really sure if an EV would work for them. For those who are a little bit informed, I found that they had more in-depth questions that needed answering before they decide if they’ll switch to EVs or not.
Ford’s meme game, aside from being complete cringy trash, doesn’t help move that conversation, does it? It might get a few clicks from Twitter dunk culture, who love short burst nuggets of ‘wisdom’ that lack nuance, but those who are looking for legitimate information will be turned off by the cringy memes. If you didn’t get a hernia from cringing, the subtext of Ford’s meme stream just called those who might have real questions and concerns about EVs, stupid. If I were in the market to drop at least $45,000 to 70,000 on a brand new car, the knowledge that the manufacturer thinks I’m a dumbass for having basic usability concerns wouldn’t convince me to buy their product. Those folks deserve answers to their questions, they should be treated with respect, not made fun of.
Wendy’s screwed up the social media for everyone, sometimes brands can be funny, but remember, they are not people. A brand does not get ‘tired’ of informing people, in fact, it’s their job to inform, convince, and persuade you to choose their product. Probably in some bizarro Ford boardroom or social media department, that tweet stream was meant to engender more buzz for its future EV products. It didn’t work, and as the kids say, it’s not the vibes, stop.
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