Are the Ford and Visa campaigns interchangeable?

It took a few seconds, but last night, while watching the launch of the new Ford "Bold moves" campaign on American Idol, I figured out what other current campaign this new effort is reminiscent of: the “Life Takes Visa” campaign. It’s much more subtle than the blatant similarities we’ve seen recently between some spots; this is much more a question of sensibility. Both are campaigns-as-manifesto, featuring a key word or phrase—“Bold” in Ford’s case, and “Life Takes” in Visa’s, to which all sorts of other attributes are then generously applied.
These vignette-style commercials—and we’ve seen them many times before—tend to be pretty engaging, but what they say about the brand in question is anybody’s guess. Marketing people, of course, want to present their brands not as being mere products but as conduits to larger aspirations, and thus, these types of campaigns have a tendency to shy away from actually showing the product. How banal that would be! That, in turn, I think, leads to confusion. Could you do some quick editing to either campaign and make it appear that “Life Takes” applies to Ford while “Bold” applies to Visa? I’m betting you could.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor