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."

Uh-huh.

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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