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Did Ford Just Trash General Motors Company's Infamous Cadillac Ad?

In recent weeks, General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) latest TV ad for its Cadillac brand has been the subject of a lot of discussion. Some folks love the ad; some hate it -- but almost nobody is indifferent, as you can see from the lengthy comment thread on the article I wrote about the ad.

Now, Ford (NYSE: F  ) has come up with a riposte to the Cadillac ad. 

It emerged late last week that the automaker -- or at least, its ad agency, Team Detroit -- had put together a parody of the now-famous Cadillac ad, with a decidedly different twist.

Ford's ad stars Pashon Murray, founder of sustainability group Detroit Dirt, and a plug-in hybrid Ford C-Max, and... well, check it out for yourself:

That's an interesting move on Ford's part, isn't it?

Now, Ford isn't exactly blasting this all over the airwaves. It was released late last week on YouTube -- not via Ford's official YouTube account, but on a new account that appeared to have been created specifically for this ad. 

Why would it do that? 

I think Ford might be feeling that it needs to maintain a little bit of distance from this particular piece (though Ford spokespeople have acknowledged that the company is behind the ad). 

Where GM's ad played to a certain set of patriotic and capitalist American values that we might associate with conservative politics, Ford's clearly plays to a set of values that we might think of as liberal.

One could argue that GM needs to do some work to woo conservative-minded American consumers who might have been alienated by the politics around the automaker's 2009 bailout.

But one could just as easily argue that Ford -- maker of America's best-selling pickup truck, among other things -- shouldn't be alienating those same folks. 

So, what is Ford thinking?
A Ford representative told the Detroit Free Press that the ad was intended to be "lighthearted" and wasn't about mocking a competitor, but was instead meant to "showcase positive work being done in our community."


I'm certainly willing to believe that Ford was pleased to showcase the efforts of Murray's group, which has worked with both Ford and GM. But I think this ad was about a little more than that.

One of Ford's biggest goals has been -- and continues to be -- to gain ground on import brands such as Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) and Honda (NYSE: HMC  ) , which are often seen as "greener" than the Detroit automakers.

Ford has been working hard to put its fuel-efficient cars -- including the C-Max Hybrid, which competes directly against Toyota's Prius v -- on the shopping lists of buyers who prioritize green concerns.

I'm guessing that a lot of those folks hated GM's ad, and will love this one.

What do you think? Has Ford one-upped GM and its controversial ad? Or has the Blue Oval shot itself in the foot,? Scroll down to leave a comment and let me know.

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John Rosevear

John Rosevear is the Fool's Senior Auto Specialist. John has been writing about the auto business and investing for over 20 years, and for The Motley Fool since 2007.

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