On May 22nd, Ford Motor Company regained ownership of their blue oval logo. Moody’s Investor Service had raised Ford’s debt ratings to investment-grade on that day. The upgrade allowed the Detroit automotive company to own the logo again. Ford used the blue oval logo, the trademarks for the F-150 pickup, and the trademarks for the Mustang as collateral in 2006 in order to get a $23.5 billion loan to avoid bankruptcy. Facebook will now be using their logo to promote licensed merchandise such as T-shirts and toy cars on the social network.
After recovering the logo, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said “This is one of the best days that I can remember” in a conference call. Seeing loss of control of their logo was “enormously emotional for me personally and for my family,” he added.
In order to recover the logo, Ford needed investment-grade ratings from two out of three ratings agencies. Fitch Ratings upgraded them in April. S&P still has yet to upgrade Ford.
These ads are a first for Ford’s licensing operations and they will appear on the right sidebar of Facebook users that have visited Pages that belong to Ford and other automative companies.
These ads will promote 20 merchandise items in a rotation between now and June 10th. Licensed items helped build Ford’s brands and generated $1.5 billion in 2011 revenues.
Ford’s licensing manager John Nens said ?When we didn?t take the government money, the Ford oval became more popular with consumers.?
Ford has received licensing requests for new items like a Mustang men’s cologne and a $34 T-shirt with a picture of a 1968 Shelby Cobra Mustang being sold at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Ford competitor General Motors has pulled their ads from Facebook. General Motors pulled the ads after citing research showing that ads were seen as a distraction to users.