Ford asks Chevy to pull Super Bowl pickup ad, pressures NBC not to air

Justin Hyde

When this Chevrolet Super Bowl ad popped up Friday featuring a post-apocalyptic Silverado pickup and a sting at Ford, we noted it was a rare, but not unheard-of public joust between the two brands. Someone at Ford took it a little more personally: Not only did Ford ask General Motors to pull the ad, it pressured NBC to bench it from tonight's Super Bowl. The ad's still on.

In a statement released a few minutes ago, Chevrolet says Ford sent a cease and desist letter, demanding the spot showing Silverado owners munching Twinkies and mourning the non-survival of their Ford-owning buddy. A source familiar with the dispute says Ford also called on NBC to pull the $7 million, one-minute air time.

Joel Ewanick, GM Global Chief Marketing Officer, says Chevy was standing by its claims that the Silverado is "the most dependable, longest lasting full size pickup on the road."

"We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize," Ewanick said in a statement. "In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away."

We asked Ford for a comment, and have yet to hear back; we'll update when we do. But all of this will be over sometime in the first quarter of the game when the Silverado ad is set to air, and where the Giants and the Patriots will settle their scores on the field.

UPDATED: Ford spokesman Mike Levine tells Motoramic Ford did send a letter to Chevy asking the ad be pulled, saying Ford disagreed with several of GM's claims, "particularly around durability." Levine also said GM's "longest-lasting" claims were belied by Ford having more trucks on the road with 250,000 miles or more than any other make.

"Claims are made in advertising frequently by every auto manufacturer," Levine said. "This type of ad protest happens from time to time...We'll always defend our products."

Levine added that any decision about what to do after the ad airs would be left to Ford's legal team.

The reply also came as Ford marketing chief Jim Farley told reporters in Las Vegas that he regretted not joining the 11 other automakers in building a big ad around the game -- but that even if Ford had done so, it wouldn't have bought ad time.

See Motoramic's roundup of all of this year's automotive Super Bowl ads here

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