The relationship between automakers and Hollywood is, in a word, complicated. Sometimes it can be mutually beneficial – a movie or television series needs cars, manufacturers need promotion, instant win-win, right? It sounds simple in execution, and done right it can be a major win for a manufacturer. Just ask General Motors how starring in the Transformers franchise is working out, or the original Knight Rider, or Smokey and the Bandit.
Taking a look at Ford’s latest Hollywood venture, we’re not entirely sure the manufacturer has quite figured out the concept yet. The company has partnered up with Marvel to promote the new EcoSport compact CUV with Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, which hits theaters this Friday. Since pretty much anything from Marvel these days is guaranteed gold, we understand the marketing appeal. The television commercial is okay, and Ford says the EcoSport is in the actual film. But the limited-run comic to tie in the EcoSport even further just seems a bit cheesy, and by that we’re talking full-on blocks of cheddar with an entire box of crackers.
Ford will do a print of 500 issues, but the comic is also available to view online for a limited time by clicking here. It features the EcoSport in a “what if” scenario, and we’ll just say this – anyone who remembers the rebooted Knight Rider from 2008 will immediately recognize Ford's cringe-worthy product placements in the comic. Feel free to browse for yourself, but when you get to the point where the heroine explains to Groot what Sync 3 is, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We previewed the 2018 EcoSport last November at the LA Auto Show, and it has all the ingredients to be a success in its segment. Engines are either a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four, mated to a six-speed automatic with available all-wheel drive. Simply letting the crossover stand on its own merits as a sponsor of the film seems like a perfectly good match to us, but maybe we don’t read enough comics to get the appeal here. Hopefully the EcoSport's film debut – which Ford says will be a couple of cameo appearances – will be better.
Gallery: Ford EcoSport: LA 2016
FORD RELEASES MARVEL STUDIOS' 'GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2' COMMERCIAL, LIMITED RUN COMIC FEATURING ALL-NEW ECOSPORT
DEARBORN, Mich., April 28, 2016 – Ford’s newest commercial stars Groot from Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” and the all-new EcoSport – Ford’s fun, capable and connected compact SUV.
Fans can continue the experience by entering the “Be the Guardian of Your Galaxy” sweepstakes at www.marvel.com/ecosport. Entrants get a chance to win a Ford EcoSport, a hometown screening of the movie, one of 150 custom illustrations by a Marvel artist depicting the fan as a galactic hero, and plenty of swag.
EcoSport goes on sale in early 2018. Catch Ford’s all-new compact SUV in Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” in theaters May 5.