Detroit rivals Ford Motor Company and General Motors sparred briefly over a commercial that GM aired during last night's Super Bowl. The commercial, called "2012" and embedded below, posits that the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck is tougher than Ford's F-Series line.
The Chevrolet commercial shows a Chevrolet Silverado driving through the rubble in the aftermath of an apocalyptic disaster scene -- complete with a crashed UFO, burning buildings, and other Hollywood tropes. The driver of the Silverado meets with his other truck-driving friends, only to notice that one of their pals is missing.
"Dave didn't drive the longest-lasting, most dependable truck on the road," explains one of the actors. "Dave drove a Ford."
The implication: Ford trucks aren't as tough as Chevy Trucks, and wouldn't survive difficult circumstances.
On the eve of the Super Bowl, Ford lawyers asked General Motors and NBC, which aired the football game, to cancel or modify the commercial. Ford felt the spot unfairly painted the F-Series pickup truck in a negative light, especially by asserting that owners of those trucks would die in a natural disaster.
According to The Detroit News, a Ford lawyer wrote, "Ford demands that Chevrolet immediately cease and desist from making any unsubstantiated and disparaging claims regarding Ford's pickup trucks… Ford will take all appropriate steps to enforce and protect its reputation."
Neither General Motors nor NBC altered the ad, which was shown during the second quarter of last night's game.
A Ford spokesman told us today that the company disagrees with the durability and longevity claims of the commercials, noting that the F-150 has been America's best-selling truck for 35 years, and that the brand has more trucks on the road with over 250,000 miles than any other manufacturer.
He also noted that, unlike the Chevrolet Silverado, the Ford F-150 was recognized as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
General Motors released a statement standing behind the "2012" commercial, calling it "good-humored" and refusing to back down from the longevity claims. The company characterized its ad as "completely over-the-top, outrageous."
"We stand by our claims in the commercial," General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick said in the statement. "We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Chevrolet Silverado right away."
Sources: YouTube, General Motors, Ford, The Detroit News