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Ford Takes a Not-So-Subtle Jab at Elon Musk for His Space Endeavors

All’s fair in love and advertising. Ford is taking this non-existent saying to heart, with a not-so-subtle dig at Elon Musk, included in a recent ad. Or so it would seem.
New Ford ad seems to take a swipe at Elon Musk for wanting to colonize Mars 8 photos
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Ford, like all the other automakers, is struggling to keep up with Tesla, the current leader on the EV market. In between dedicating bigger budgets to the electric sector – Ford has pledged $50 billion toward electrifying its vehicles – and battery tech developments, there’s always the age-old rival-bashing approach. It doesn’t work every time, but that’s not stopping anyone from using it.

The video below is Ford’s take on it. This is an ad created for the Kentucky Derby, called Ford for the Builders. On the face of it, its goal is to highlight the hard work being done at Ford, where real people are putting together the cars that will then drive people around. These are all American people, working on American products and, most importantly, the work is being done despite the background noise.

In case you’re wondering what that background noise might be, it’s a combination between the ongoing billionaire space race and the ruckus caused by the loudmouths of the moment. Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk would fit into both categories at once, Ford seems to imply.

“Right now it can seem like the only people who matter are the loudest,” the ad says in voiceover. “Those who want to tear things down, and then fly away on their own personal spaceships when things get hard.”

It’s true that Musk can be extremely loud at times, especially if he gets too passionate about a topic on Twitter, and that he’s building “his own” spaceship, but there’s no explanation offered for the part about wanting “to tear things down” in the video. Not that his name is ever mentioned, mind you. Still, the comments section on YouTube is overflowing with direct criticism at the creative decision to take such a shameful swipe at a direct rival – a trailblazer like Tesla, no less.

In a statement to Business Insider, Ford says that maybe we shouldn’t be reading this much in a commercial. Sometimes, an ad can be just an ad and not some veiled attack on a competitor. “The goal of the ad campaign is to celebrate all workers, beginning with Ford, which employs more hourly workers in the United States and assembles more vehicles in America than any other automaker,” a spokesperson explains.

The ad is below in full. Watch and decide for yourself which is which.

Editor's note: Photos in the gallery show the Ford F-150 Lightning.


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