— Ford's new spokesman has an attitude: He's rude, lecherous and … bright orange.
Doug, the new pitchman for the Ford Focus, made his debut on YouTube earlier this month and he's anything but the typical suited PR flak you'd picture representing the stodgy century-old automaker (we hope few real-life spokesmen would call a woman reporter "pretty pants.")
"I'm really concerned. I feel he was out of control up there," a Ford executive said in a YouTube video after Doug's fake debut news conference. "I want to know if he’s going to be clothed at any point."
The social-media campaign is an obvious attempt to market the restyled compact car to people with, well, a sense of humor. You likely won't be seeing Doug's edgier antics on broadcast TV, but you can friend him on Facebook. With all the high-tech bells and whistles in the new Focus — think touchscreen stereo controls and sonar-assisted parking — it makes sense that the company is marketing the car to a Web-savvy audience.
Jon Beebe, digital marketing manager for Ford, told Mashable there will be new videos that follow a story arc added every week over the next few months.
"The 2012 Focus is so wildly different — we wanted to grab their attention and have them pay attention," Beebe told Mashable.
Doug is the latest entry in the annals of marketing puppetry. Remember Pets.com's talking dog or Kermit the Frog pitching the Ford Escape? For a top 10 list of famous puppet ad campaigns, check out this column at AdAge.
What do you think of Doug: Funny or obnoxious?